Kikuchi, Chen Earn All-Pac-12 Honors
BERKELEY – Two members of the 53rd-ranked California men's tennis team earned Pac-12 honors, the conference announced on Wednesday, with Yuta Kikuchi claiming a spot on the All-Pac-12 second team and Derrick Chen garnering honorable mention.
This is Kikuchi's second All-Pac-12 honor, including a second-team selection in 2019, when he was also named the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year.
The veteran Kikuchi – a senior – and Chen – a freshman in his first semester at Cal – were both instrumental in the Golden Bears' success in the 2021-22 season, as they ended the year with an 11-10 record.
A product of Yahaba, Japan, Kikuchi is ranked 99th in Wednesday's ITA singles poll after posting a record of 20-16. He was also ranked 28th in doubles with freshman Carl Emil Overbeck, as the duo went 16-9. Kikuchi is 18-11 overall in doubles. On Tuesday, Kikuchi and Overbeck earned an at-large berth to compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship, which is slated for May 23-28 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Kikuchi was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after clinching two Cal wins, including a victory over No. 22 Utah in the Bears' Pac-12 opener and a win over Santa Clara. On March 11 in Berkeley, Kikuchi defeated Arthur Neuhaus at court-one singles to secure the Bears' 5-2 win over the Broncos. In another home match on March 13, Kikuchi beat Utah's Franco Capalbo, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, on court one, as the Bears prevailed 5-2.
Kikuchi clinched for a third consecutive time when he beat Athell Bennett, 6-4, 6-4, in Cal's 5-2 win over Purdue on March 16. He clinched four times overall this season, including a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 result over UCLA's Drew Baird on Feb. 5 that secured Cal's impressive 4-0 blanking of the 23rd-ranked Bruins.
Other notable events for Kikuchi this season include a 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 win over Florida's fourth-ranked Duarte Vale in Harvard's Chowderfest in September and reaching the singles semifinals of the ITA Northwest Super Regional Championships in October.
Chen, from Cambridge, England, posted a singles record of 13-4. The 13 wins include clinching victories against UNLV on Feb. 28 – when he beat Zach Garner, 6-4, 6-2, in a 7-0 rout of the Rebels – and against No. 47 Washington on April 9, when Chen defeated Cesar Bouchelaghem, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1, to wrap up Cal's 4-3 comeback triumph over the Huskies, with both matches played at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley. Chen also began his Cal career with four straight singles wins, including a 3-0 mark in Cal's January trip to the Hawaii Invitational.