Cal Earns Trip To L.A. For ITA Kickoff Weekend
BERKELEY – The California men's tennis team earned a spot in the ITA Kickoff Weekend next month, with the 34th-ranked Golden Bears joining No. 19 UCLA, No. 18 Central Florida and top-ranked USC – the host – from Jan. 23-24, 2021, in the 13th annual event.
The winner of the four-team ITA Kickoff Weekend – one of seven held around the country – automatically qualifies for the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship, joining host Illinois for the Feb. 12-14 national tournament in Champaign. This season, the ITA reduced the size of the field from the normal 16 teams to eight in an attempt to alleviate complications related to COVID-19.
Cal will open the ITA Kickoff Weekend against the No. 1 Trojans, the Bears' Pac-12 Conference rivals who are also the defending national indoor champions. The winner of that match takes on the UCLA-UCF winner.
In Cal's last visit to USC's Marks Tennis Stadium, Jack Molloy clinched the Bears' 4-3 come-from-behind win over the then-No. 5 Trojans on Feb. 9, 2019. Cal took the doubles point and a 1-0 lead after wins from the pair of Molloy and Mert Zincirli and the duo of Paul Barretto and Can Kaya. Later trailing 3-1, Cal got singles wins from Ben Draper and Yuta Kikuchi before capping its victory with Molloy's 7-6(3), 6-7(6), 6-3 result over Riley Smith.
The only other concrete event on Cal's schedule is the 2021 Pac-12 Championship, slated to run April 21-24 in Ojai, California.