Cal's historic upset, USC's clutch win sends teams to Pac-12 Men's Tennis Final
OJAI, CALIF. - No. 4 seed CALIFORNIA notched a historic upset over top-seeded UCLA and No. 2 USC came up clutch against No. 3 STANFORD in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Men’s Tennis Championships on Friday. Cal and USC move onto the finals match Saturday to be played on Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Bay Area at 3 p.m. PT at Libbey Court.
No. 4 CALIFORNIA 4, No. 1 UCLA 1
No. 4 California made history in the semifinals by upsetting top-seeded and defending Pac-12 Champion UCLA, 4-1. It is the Golden Bears’ second time reaching the men’s final (2016) and they are the lowest seed to reach the finals in the history of the men’s team championship (since 2012). This also marks the first time the No. 1 seed did not reach the men’s final.
The match started with a tight battle for the doubles point. UCLA’s Maxime Cressy and Keegan Smith made quick work on court one with a 6-0 win. Paul Barretto and Can Kaya knotted it with a win for Cal on court two, 7-5. All eyes turned to court three for a competitive battle between the Bruins’ Bryce Pereira and Patrick Zahraj and the Golden Bears’ Ben Draper and Jack Molloy. A tiebreaker decided the point, and Cal’s duo prevailed 7-6 (4) to clinch the doubles point.
UCLA’s Patrick Zahraj notched the only point of the match for the Bruins with a 6-2, 6-3 win on court four. Cal’s Bjorn Hoffmann, Paul Barretto and Jacob Brumm won the next three singles matches, with Brumm providing the clincher to send Cal to the final.
No. 2 USC 4, No. 3 Stanford 2
USC survived a late push by Stanford, holding on to win 4-2 to advance to its third-straight final and seventh overall. The Trojans have reached the finals match in the men’s bracket all but one year (2016) and have won the event three times, twice as the No. 2 seed (2012, 2015) and once as the No. 3 seed (2017).
The Trojans clinched the doubles point with a victory from Brandon Holt and Riley Smith on court one, 6-4, and the clincher from Daniel Cukierman and Tanner Smith on court three, 6-4.
USC won the first two singles matches on courts one and five, before Stanford stormed back within a point at 3-2 with the next two singles wins courtesy of Sangeet Sridhar on court six and William Genesen on court three. On court two, USC’s Daniel Cukierman and Stanford’s Alexandre Rotsaert headed to a tiebreaker in the second set, but Cukierman pulled through, 6-3, 7-6 (6), to send the Trojans to the final.
Both the men’s and women’s finals matches will be played tomorrow, Saturday, April 27, at Libbey Court. The women play first at 12 p.m. PT, followed by the men’s final at 3 p.m. The men’s match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks and will be available to stream on the Pac-12 Now app.
2019 PAC-12 MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
Semifinals // Fri., April 26, 2019 // Libbey
No. 2 USC 4, No. 3 Stanford 2
1. Brandon Holt/ Riley Smith, USC def. Sameer Kumar/Timothy Sah, STAN - 6-4
2. Jack Jaede/ Laurens Verboven, USC v. Jack Barber/Axel Geller, STAN - 5-4 unf.
3. Daniel Cukierman/Tanner Smith, USC def. Alexandre Rotsaert/Sangeet Sridhar, STAN - 6-4
Order of finish: 1, 3
1. Brandon Holt, USC def. Axel Geller, STAN - 6-1, 6-2
2. Daniel Cukierman, USC def. Alexandre Rotsaert, STAN - 6-3, 7-6 (6)
3. William Genesen, STAN def. Laurens Verboven, USC - 6-4, 6-3
4. Sameer Kumar, STAN v. Riley Smith, USC - 1-6, 6-3, 4-3 unf.
5. Jake Sands, USC def. Timothy Sah, STAN - 6-3, 6-0
6. Sangeet Sridhar, STAN def. Mor Bulis, USC - 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 1, 5, 6, 3, 2
No. 4 California 4, No. 1 UCLA 1
1. Maxime Cressy/Keegan Smith, UCLA def. Jacob Brumm/Yuta Kikuchi, CAL - 6-0
2. Paul Barretto/Can Kaya, CAL def. Govind Nanda/Connor Rapp, UCLA - 7-5
3. Ben Draper/Jack Molloy, CAL def. Bryce Pereira/Patrick Zahraj, UCLA - 7-6 (4)
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
1. Maxime Cressy, UCLA v. Yuta Kikuchi, CAL - 7-5, 3-3 unf.
2. Keegan Smith, UCLA v. Jack Molloy, CAL - 6-4, 5-4 unf.
3. Paul Barretto, CAL def. Govind Nanda, UCLA - 6-4, 6-4
4. Patrick Zahraj, UCLA def. Ben Draper, CAL - 6-2, 6-3
5. Jacob Brumm, CAL def. Ben Goldberg, UCLA - 6-3, 6-2
6. Bjorn Hoffmann, CAL def. Eric Hahn, UCLA - 6-1, 6-2
Order of finish: 4, 6, 3, 5