Men's Tennis Heads to Ojai for Pac-10 Championships

April 22, 2009


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THIS WEEK: The No. 48-ranked California men's tennis team (10-10, 2-4 Pac-10, fifth-place tie) will join the Pacific-10 conference's other six teams as it heads to Ojai, Calif. this weekend for the Pac-10 Tennis Championships at Libbey Park. The four-day tournament (Thursday, April 23 through Sunday, April 26) will decide the league's men's and women's singles and doubles champions. The 32-player singles draw consists of four student-athletes from each school and four wild card players to be selected at the discretion of the draw committee. The 16-team doubles draw consists of two doubles teams from each school and two wild card teams selected by the committee. The Pac-10 Championships will be held in conjunction with the 109th Annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament with matches beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 23. Two rounds of singles will be played on the first day while one round of singles and two rounds of doubles will be played on the second day. The singles championship match will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 26 with the doubles championships to be held at 12:30 p.m.

WHO'S WHO?: 15 Pac-10 singles players are ranked in the ITA Top-125 national men's singles rankings (as of April 21). Six Conference teams are represented by ranked individuals, with USC junior Robert Farah topping the list at No. 7, and joined in the Top-25 by Stanford sophomore Alex Clayton at No. 20.

ARIZONA: No. 62 Jay Goldman, Fr.CALIFORNIA: No. 63 Pedro Zerbini, So.STANFORD: No. 20 Alex Clayton, So.; No. 48 Bradley Klahn, Fr.; No. 121 Richard Wire, Jr.UCLA: No. 49 Haythem Abid, Jr.; No. 73 Matt Brooklyn, Jr.; No. 116 Nick Meister, So.; No. 123 Holden Seguso, So.USC: No. 7 Robert Farah, Jr.; No. 67 Steve Johnson, Fr.; No. 80 Jaak Poldma, So.; No. 99 Abdullah Magdas, Sr.WASHINGTON: No. 40 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, So.; No. 111 Patrik Fischer, Sr.

In doubles, Pac-10 men's teams occupy eight spots among the ITA Top-90 national doubles rankings, with a ranked pair representing five different schools. USC's tandem of Robert Farah and Steve Johnson is the highest-ranked duo at No. 2.

CALIFORNIA: No. 18 Geoff Chizever, Sr./Pedro Zerbini, So.STANFORD: No. 35 Blake Muller, Sr./Richard Wire, Jr.; No. 45 Bradley Klahn, Fr./Ryan Thacher, Fr.UCLA: No. 28 Haythem Abid, Jr./Nick Meister, So.; No. 73 Matt Brooklyn, Jr./Harel Srugo, Sr.USC: No. 2 Robert Farah, Jr./Steve Johnson, Fr.WASHINGTON: No. 61 Derek Drabble, Jr./Martin Kidahl, So.; No. 70 Patrik Fischer, Sr./Jeeven Nedunchezhiyan, So.

OJAI HISTORY: The Pac-10 Championships will again be the featured event at this year's 109th Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. The annual event attracts 1,600 of the best collegiate, junior and open players from the Western states. Started by William Thacher in 1896, the championships have been played at the same site and interrupted only five times through more than a century of play. The tournament, put on entirely by volunteer efforts on public and privately owned courts has featured such quality players as: Pete Sampras, Lindsay Davenport, Michael Chang, Rick Leach, Tracy Austin, Billy Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and the Bryan twins. These tennis greats are among more than 85 former players at The Ojai who have gone on to win one or more Grand Slam events as professional tennis players, all of whom are listed on Libbey Park's 'Wall of Fame.'

CAL AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Last year, the Bears were represented in the singles quarterfinal by sophomore Pedro Zerbini, who fell to runner-up Robert Farah of USC. In doubles play, Cal advanced to the semifinal round where senior Geoff Chizever and Zerbini fell in an 8-4 loss to eventual champions, Farah and Kaes Van't Hof of USC.

LAST WEEK: The Bears completed their regular season dual schedule with a loss to rival No. 8-ranked Stanford on the road as the Cal men fell in a 6-1 defeat. Sophomore Bozhidar Katsarov tacked up Cal's only point of the match as he took out Matt Bruch with an easy 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 4 singles. In doubles play, freshman tandem Nick Andrews and Thai Tu took home their ninth win together as they defeated Bruch and Alex Clayton at No. 3 doubles. Andrews and Tu pushed their record to 9-3 overall. The Bears finished up the Pac-10 season in fifth place with a 2-4 record, 10-10 overall, and will await word on a potential bid to the NCAA tennis championships on April 28. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini completed his dual season with a team-high 21 singles wins against just eight losses as he went 10-5 on the top court. Tu finished up next in line with an 18-8 overall record, 10-5, in duals and sophomore Jonathan Dahan was third in line with a 17-11 mark this year, 11-7 in duals. Zerbini and senior Geoff Chizever lead the team with a 23-10 overall record and reached a 12-7 mark in dual matches this season.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: Cal holds the No. 48 spot in the most recent (April 14) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Rankings. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini checks in at No. 63 among singles players and teams up with senior Geoff Chizever to become the No. 18-ranked doubles team in the nation.

POWER OF THE PAC: The Pacific-10 Conference features six teams ranked in the top 50 of the most recent (April 21) Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll--making it one of the toughest conferences in all of collegiate men's tennis. UCLA holds the top ranking as the conference champion Bruins check in at No. 5. Stanford is ranked No. 8 and USC is right behind at No. 9. Arizona is ranked No. 22 with the 27th-ranked Huskies not far behind to give the conference five teams in the top 30 alone. Cal checks in at No. 48 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 won the doubles point in 13 matches this season and emerged with the team victory in ten of those 13 wins. The Cal lineup features one of the top-20 doubles teams in the country in senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini who hold down the No. 18 ranking with a 23-10 record this year. The two have owned the top doubles court in dual matches to come up with a 12-7 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 213-158 (.574) overall (55-67, .451 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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