Golden Bears Head to The Farm for Regular-Season Finale at No. 8 Stanford
April 15, 2009
THIS WEEK: The No. 39-ranked California men's tennis team (10-9, 2-3 Pac-10) will complete its regular-season dual schedule on the road as the Golden Bears face No. 8 Stanford (17-5, 2-3 Pac-10) in the Big Slam this Saturday, April 18, at 1 p.m. on The Farm. All the action from Taube Family Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif. can be seen live via links for scores and video at www.gostanford.com. The last time the two teams met, the Cardinal escaped defeat in Berkeley by pulling out a couple of tough points to swing momentum its way. Stanford won, 5-2, back on Feb. 21 and will have a target on its back as Cal heads across the bay with revenge on its mind.
LAST WEEK: The Bears split matches in the Pacific Northwest as they defeated Oregon, 6-1, after falling in a tough 4-3 match to No. 21 Washington. Earlier in the week, Cal hosted its final home match of the season at the San Francisco Tennis Club as No. 17 Pepperdine visited the Bay Area. The Waves pulled off a come-from-behind victory to claim a 4-3 win over the Bears on Senior Day. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini got his 20th and 21st singles wins of the year including a big 6-1, 6-3 trouncing of No. 40-ranked Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of Washington. Freshman Thai Tu also got two singles wins over the weekend to push his total to 18 in his first year. Sophomore Jonathan Dahan enjoyed a strong showing as he claimed victories in all three of his singles matches to run his record to 17-10; and also won two of his three doubles matches when teamed with fellow second-year player, Bozhidar Katsarov. Cal earned its 13th doubles point of the year against the Ducks and went on to win its second conference match of the dual season.
BEARS IN THE RANKS: Cal holds the No. 39 spot in the most recent (April 14) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Rankings. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini moved up the rankings ladder at No. 58 last week and teams up with senior Geoff Chizever to become the No. 15-ranked doubles team in the nation.
ON COURT - NO. 8 STANFORD: The Cardinal (17-5, 2-3 Pac-10) opened the season with a 12-1 record and rose to the top of the men's tennis rankings but since facing Baylor, 4-3, in the HP Cup on March 24, Stanford has fallen in four of its last nine matches. After dropping the match against Baylor, the Cardinal endured two more 4-3 losses to USC and UCLA at home. Since opening conference play with the two defeats, Stanford has rebounded to win five out of its last six matches; with the one stumble coming against Arizona, 4-3. The Cardinal is led by No. 20-ranked sophomore Alex Clayton, who has produced a 24-9 singles record that includes a 12-5 mark at the top court. No. 52-ranked freshman Bradley Klahn leads the team in singles wins with a 27-7 overall record (17-4 in duals). No. 119-ranked sophomore Gregory Hirshman is 13-6 on the year and No. 122-ranked junior Richard Wire is 24-9 overall, 17-5 in duals with four wins against nationally-ranked opponents. The Cardinal lineup also features two ranked doubles teams. Senior Blake Muller and Wire team up to hold the No. 30-ranking. The duo has put together a 14-6 record this season and claimed four victories over ranked opponents. No. 69-ranked senior Matt Bruch and freshman Ryan Thacher are 7-4 together. The last time the two teams met, the Bears struggled with the Cardinal and kept things close until Stanford was able to turn Cal away for a 5-2 win in Berkeley. Stanford leads the all-time series, 121-72-2.
POWER OF THE PAC: The Pacific-10 Conference features six teams ranked in the top 40 of the most recent (April 14) 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. 7. Stanford is ranked No. 8 and UCLA is right behind at No. 9. Washington is ranked No. 21 with the 22nd-ranked Wildcats not far behind to give the conference five teams in the top 25 alone. Cal checks in at No. 39 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.
ZERBINI REPEATS AS PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Pedro Zerbini was named Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for March 30-April 5 to become just the second Cal player to win the award more than once in the same season since Conor Niland in 2006 (three times). Zerbini helped the Bears upset No. 20-ranked Arizona, 4-2, to give the Wildcats their first and only home loss of the season. He teamed up with senior Geoff Chizever to take out No. 80-ranked Pat Methem and Francois VanderMerwe, 8-4, on the top court. Zerbini defeated his fourth-straight ranked player as he dropped a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win on No. 68 Jay Goldman at the top court. Zerbini also won the award on March 19 as he 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.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: The Bears have won the doubles point in 13 matches this season and have emerged with the team victory in ten of those 13 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. 15 ranking with a 23-9 record this year. The two have owned the top doubles court in dual matches to come up with a 12-6 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 of 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 213-157 (.576) overall (55-66, .455 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).