No. 23 Golden Bears Face No. 7 UCLA and No. 4 USC in Los Angeles

Feb. 26, 2009


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THIS WEEK: The No. 23-ranked California men's tennis team (3-3) looks to rebound from a close loss last weekend as the Golden Bears hit the road to take on No. 7 UCLA (6-3) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Friday (Feb. 27) at 1:30 p.m. and No. 4 USC (9-1) at the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium on Saturday (Feb. 28) at 1 p.m. As the first of two meetings between the Bears and the two Southern California opponents, the result will not count towards the Pac-10 standings. Cal has won the doubles point in five matches this season and hopes a potent attack on the singles courts will help bring a couple of wins back to the Bay Area. Please check for updates and information.

LAST WEEK: The Bears fought hard against rival Stanford in the Big Slam at the Hellman Tennis Complex but fell narrowly in a 5-2 decision. Cal looked strong at the outset, winning the doubles point with victories on court three and court one. On the third court, the newly formed duo of sophomore Bozhidar Katsarov and junior Kallim Stewart broke the Stanford serve to get an 8-6 win over Bradley Klahn and Ted Kelly. On the top court, Cal's No. 24-ranked team of senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini rallied to get the 9-7 win over No. 28-ranked Blake Muller and Richard Wire. Stanford tied the match at one point apiece when Ryan Thacher took out sophomore Jonathan Dahan on singles court three, 6-2, 6-3. Cal's only singles victory came on court six when Katsarov put the Bears back up on top, 2-1, with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Muller. The Cardinal tied things again with a win on the second court as No. 47 Klahn beat No. 88 Stewart, 6-3, 6-4. Stanford took the 3-2 lead when Matt Bruch fought back and defeated senior Eoin Heavey in three sets, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2. On court five, freshman Nick Andrews forced a third set against No. 117 Wire but narrowly fell 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. With the match in hand, Stanford added one more point as No. 13-ranked Alex Clayton took out Zerbini on the top court in three sets, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.

ON COURT - NO. 7 UCLA: The Bruins (6-3) went toe-to-toe with No. 12 Baylor last Sunday in Waco, Texas before falling, 4-3, UCLA lost the doubles point, but managed to get singles wins from senior Michael Look, and sophomores Nick Meister and Ahmed Ismail. With the match tied at 3-3, Baylor's Jordan Rux battled back from a set down to defeat junior Matt Brooklyn, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the deciding match at No. 2 singles. The Bruins have three ranked singles players with Brooklyn headlining the group at No. 52. Junior Haythem Abid checks in at No. 74 and Look holds down the No. 93 ranking. UCLA does not have a ranked doubles team. Bruin regulars sophomore Holden Seguso and senior Harel Srugo have been sidelined due to injury. Both players did not play in the loss to Baylor and are not expected to participate in this weekend's matches against Cal and Stanford. The Bears fell in two meetings against UCLA last year and are behind the Bruins in the all-time series, 116-38-1.

ON COURT - NO. 4 USC: The Trojans carry a 9-1 record and a No. 4 national ranking into the weekend. USC improved to 9-1 on the year and got back on a winning run with a 7-0 victory over UC Irvine last week. The Trojans were led by freshman Steven Johnson, who won both his doubles match with junior Robert Farah and made quick work of his singles opponent to help push the Trojans to the sweep. Farah is ranked No. 3 in singles while senior Abdullah Magdas is No. 67. Johnson holds the No. 118 spot. In doubles, Farah and Johnson are ranked No. 3. The Trojans feature plenty of new blood this season. In addition to Johnson, USC welcomed Matt Kecki, Andrew Kells and Daniel Nguyen who all boast a laundry list of junior-level accolades along with championships and strong rankings. Ben Lankenau also joins the crew as a freshman this year, rounding out a formidable group of newcomers. The Bears and Trojans met three times last season with USC emerging victorious in all three matches to run the all-time series record to 122-36-4 in the Trojans' favor.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: Cal holds the No. 23 spot in the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings. Junior Kallim Stewart is ranked No. 88 among the nation's singles players while sophomore Pedro Zerbini and senior Geoff Chizever are 24th among doubles teams.

FALL 2008 REVIEW: Cal enjoyed a successful fall individual tournament season, highlighted by the play of the doubles team of senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini. The pair won the ITA Northern Cal Championship doubles title and earned an automatic berth to the ITA National Indoor Championships. The duo also won the doubles title at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic on their way to an 11-3 record together. Junior Kallim Stewart won the coveted Norma Miner Award at the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic as he swept through his singles matches over the course of the three day tournament. Sophomores Andy Chirita and Zach Gilbert took home the Fresno State Bulldog Classic B Flight doubles title and fellow sophomore duo Jonathan Dahan and Bozhidar Katsarov advanced to the doubles quarterfinal of the ITA Northern Cal Championships. Unattached, Zerbini advanced to the singles final at the Bulldog Classic and the singles quarterfinal at the Wilson/ITA Northern Cal Championships.

HEAD COACH Peter Wright: 16th-year head coach Peter Wright has led the Golden Bears to the postseason play a school-record nine consecutive years and has only missed the NCAA tournament once in his career. He won his 200th match at Cal last season and is 206-151 (.577) overall (53-63, .457 Pac-10). His first coaching award came when he was named the 1994 Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year and earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1997 and 2001. Under Wright, nine Cal players have combined to receive 13 All-America selections. Wright has also served as Chairman of the NCAA Tennis Committee as well as on the executive board of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).

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