Golden Bears Storm Desert for Match Against No. 20 Arizona

April 1, 2009


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THIS WEEK: The No. 44-ranked California men's tennis team (8-7, 0-2 Pac-10) buckles down for two matches against top-20 teams this week. First, the Golden Bears will head to the desert and look to extend a six-match winning streak against the Wildcats as they take on No. 20 Arizona (16-2, 1-1 Pac-10) at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, April 4 at 1 p.m. Upon its return to campus, Cal faces No. 18 Pepperdine (13-8, 1-0 WCC) on Senior Day at the Hellman Tennis Complex on Tuesday, April 7 at 2 p.m. Geoff Chizever and Eoin Heavey will be honored in pre-match ceremonies. The match at home against the Waves will feature live webcasts from each court via the men's tennis website.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: Cal holds the No. 44 spot in the most recent (March 31) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Rankings. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini moved back into the rankings at No. 81 this week and teams up with senior Geoff Chizever to become the No. 13-ranked doubles team in the nation.

ZERBINI NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Pedro Zerbini became the first player from Cal to win the weekly honor since Pierre Mouillon was honored almost exactly two years prior (March 19). Zerbini helped the Bears to a fifth consecutive win as Cal took out SMU, 4-3, and USF, 6-1, at the fourth annual Pebble Beach Collegiate Tennis Classic. The second-year native of Brazil earned the honor for the week of March 16-22 as he teamed up with senior Geoff Chizever (the No. 9-ranked doubles team) and ran their record to 22-4 on the year with a big 8-2 win against No. 38-ranked Adham el-Effendi and Darren Walsh of SMU and an 8-3 victory over Asaf Cohen and Thong Tu of USF. Chizever and Zerbini improved their record to 11-1 at the top doubles court in dual matches. Zerbini also won his team-high 15th and 16th singles matches of the year as he took home a 6-1, 6-2 win against SMU's David Costa before wiping out USF's No. 122-ranked Thong Tu, 6-3, 6-1.

LAST WEEK: The Bears got their Pac-10 season off to a rough start last weekend as they fell in two matches at home to a No. 8-ranked USC team, 6-1, and a No. 11-ranked UCLA team, 5-2. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini extended his singles winning streak to four matches and ran his record in duals to 9-4, and a team-high 18-6 overall. First he took out No. 101-ranked Jaak Poldma of USC in two sets, 7-5, 6-2, and then he made short work of No. 51 Haythem Abid of UCLA, 6-2, 6-4. Freshman Thai Tu got his 15th singles win of the year as he defeated No. 74-ranked Michael Look of UCLA at the third court in a third-set super-tiebreaker, 11-9. Tu improved his dual match totals to 7-3 while moving to 15-6 overall in singles matches.

ON COURT - NO. 20 ARIZONA: The Wildcats (16-2, 1-1 Pac-10) are coming off just their second loss of the season; their first in nearly 60 days. A No. 26-ranked Washington team snapped Arizona's 14-match winning streak with a 6-1 defeat last weekend in Seattle, Wash. Prior to that, the Wildcats' 14-match streak included five shutout victories. No. 68-ranked sophomore Jay Goldman leads the Cats with a 9-4 record in dual matches at the top singles court. Junior transfer (from Arizona State) Andres Arango filled in for Goldman at the top court three times this season and emerged with a 3-0 record. Arango is also 11-3 at No. 2 singles. Freshman Jason Zafiros leads all players with a 17-1 record in dual matches; 13-1 at No. 6 singles. On the top doubles court for the Cats are junior Pat Metham and senior Francois VanderMerwe. The duo is ranked No. 80 and has compiled a 7-4 mark together. Arango and sophomore Andres Carrasco are 8-3 on the second doubles court with a 9-3 record overall in duals. The Bears own a 44-15 all-time record over the Wildcats and have won in each of the last six meetings.

ON COURT - NO. 18 PEPPERDINE: The Waves (13-8, 1-0 WCC) have lost three of their last four matches as they stumble out of a five-match win streak that included marquee victories over No. 19 Michigan and No. 41 Washington. Pepperdine is led by No. 32-ranked junior Bassam Beidas. Beidas makes residence at the top singles court and has produced 11 wins there to go along with his 21-11 overall record (13-7 in duals). No. 43-ranked senior Omar Altmann ties Beidas for the team lead in singles wins with a 21-7 overall record and is 15-4 at No. 2 singles. Together, Altmann and Beidas form the No. 10-ranked doubles team in the nation. The pair has amassed a 22-3 overall record with a 19-2 mark at the top doubles court. Pepperdine's freshman tandem of Hugh Clark and Alex Llompart have put together a 10-4 record in dual matches, going 5-3 at No. 2 doubles and 5-1 at No. 3. Junior Mahmoud Kamel is third on the team with 14 singles wins and sophomore Alejandro Moreno is fourth with 11. Pepperdine leads the all-time series by a 30-20 margin and has won the last five matchups with the Bears.

POWER OF THE PAC: The Pacific-10 Conference features six teams ranked in the top 45 of the most recent (March 31) Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll--making it one of the toughest conferences in all of collegiate men's tennis. USC holds the top ranking as the Trojans check in at No. 6. Stanford is ranked No. 8 and UCLA is right behind at No. 9. Arizona is ranked No. 20 with the 21st-ranked Huskies not far behind to give the conference five teams in the top 25 alone. Cal checks in at No. 44 with just Oregon remaining unranked. Last year, six teams from the Pac-10 earned bids to the NCAA tournament with four advancing to the second round. USC and UCLA each advanced to the quarterfinal round where they faced each other with UCLA advancing to the semifinal match. A duo from USC won the doubles championship and Alex Clayton of Stanford advanced to the semifinal of the singles competition among just a short list of conference accomplishments.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: The Bears have won the doubles point in ten matches this season and have emerged with the team victory in eight of those ten wins. The Cal lineup features one of the top-15 doubles teams in the country in senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini who hold down the No. 13 ranking with a 22-6 record this year. The two have owned the top doubles court in dual matches to come up with an 11-3 record there. Along the way, the tandem has claimed victories over No. 31 Inglot and Shabaz of Virginia and No. 26-ranked Childs and Childs of Louisville, both at the ITA National Indoor Championships. In dual matches, they have taken out No. 5 Donato and Foegelman of North Carolina and No. 28 Muller and Wire of Stanford. They've also taken wins against No. 3-ranked Farah and Johnson os USC, No. 3 Brugues and Stephens of Tulsa and No. 38-ranked el-Effendi and Walsh of SMU.

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. 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 211-155 (.577) overall (53-65, .449 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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