No. 43 Cal Wins Pac-12 Opener Over No. 22 Utah 5-2
BERKELEY – Yuta Kikuchi came through in the clutch again, with the Cal men's tennis senior clinching the No. 43 Golden Bears' 5-2 win over No. 22 Utah on Sunday in Cal's Pac-12 opener. Kikuchi, who also clinched Cal's Friday win over Santa Clara, defeated Utah's Franco Capalbo, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, to secure Sunday's match.
Cal improved its record to 7-3 (1-0 Pac-12). Utah, which has lost two straight, is 16-2 (0-2 Pac-12).
"We knew that Utah is No. 22 in the nation for a reason," said Kris Kwinta, Cal's Peter Wright Director of Men's Tennis. "They definitely were favored in this match. But the home courts helped as did the incredible crowd, and the guys came out ready for sure."
In doubles, Utah won on court two before Cal captured the match on court three, with the Bears' Alex Chang and Philip Hjorth besting Jayson Blando and Mathias Gavelin, 6-4. But then Utah claimed court one to secure the doubles point.
Cal got on the scoreboard in singles when the Bears won twice in straight sets. First, Carl Emil Overbeck beat Bruno Caula, 6-0, 7-5, on court four, and then Derrick Chen defeated Gavelin, 7-6(5), 6-2, on five to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
Utah tied the overall match at 2-2 when the 118th-ranked Geronimo Espin Busleiman knocked off Cal's Sean Hill, 7-6(6), 6-0, on court three.
Hjorth gave Cal a 3-2 lead with his three-set win over Francisco Bastias, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, on court two.
The final two matches ended almost simultaneously. Kikuchi completed his court-one win to lift Cal to a 4-2 lead and officially clinch the Bears' result. Seconds later on court six, Lucas Magnaudet won 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, over Utah's Bruno Krenn to wrap up Cal's victory at 5-2.
"We missed a few opportunities in doubles, but I felt we responded well in singles," Kwinta said. "We were fired up from the first points and kind of jumped on them. We got some early leads, and we never let up."
Cal rounds out its current homestand when the Bears host Purdue on Wednesday, Yale on Saturday and Cal Poly next Sunday.
No. 43 California (7-3, 1-0 Pac-12) defeated No. 22 Utah (16-2, 0-2 Pac-12), 5-2
March 13, 2022, in Berkeley, Calif.
Hellman Tennis Complex
1. Franco Capalbo/Geronimo Espin Busleiman (Utah) def. No. 17 Yuta Kikuchi/Carl Emil Overbeck (Cal), 7-5*
2. Francisco Bastias/Bruno Caula (Utah) def. Sean Hill/Lucas Magnaudet (Cal), 6-2
3. Alex Chang/Philip Hjorth (Cal) def. Jayson Blando/Mathias Gavelin (Utah), 6-4
Order of Finish – 2, 3, 1*
*Clinched the doubles point
1. No. 91 Yuta Kikuchi (Cal) def. Franco Capalbo (Utah), 4-6, 7-5, 6-1^
2. Philip Hjorth (Cal) def. Francisco Bastias (Utah), 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
3. No. 118 Geronimo Espin Busleiman (Utah) def. Sean Hill (Cal), 7-6(6), 6-0
4. Carl Emil Overbeck (Cal) def. Bruno Caula (Utah), 6-0, 7-5
5. Derrick Chen (Cal) def. Mathias Gavelin (Utah), 7-6(5), 6-2
6. Lucas Magnaudet (Cal) def. Bruno Krenn (Utah), 7-5, 4-6, 7-5
Order of Finish – 4, 5, 3, 2, 1^, 6
^Clinched the overall match