5th ranked Golden Bears fought off the tough challenge from the 13th ranked Baylor Bears 4-2 to advance to the quarterfinals round of the ITA Indoor tomorrow.
Cal took the doubles point when Lakat/Bergevi won court 1, 6-2 and Goransson/Griffith won court 2, 6-3.
In singles, Billy Griffith quickly defeated Baylor’s Bendeck by a 6-1, 6-2 score.
After Baylor jumps on the board when Frantzen defeated Cal’s Nishimura 7-6, 6-3 in court 6, Bears goes up 3-1 when freshman Bjorn Hoffmann defeated Little 7-6, 6-2.
With the other three courts all in the decisive 3rd set, Bergevi flinched to loss 3-6, 6-0, 4-6 to Shretter. Cal needing just one of these last 3 matches, finally got it when Florian Lakat defeated Benitez by a 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-4 final.
Thanks to today’s thrilling victory, the Golden Bears get to face North Carolina who defeated Georgia 4-2. The quarterfinals match up between Cal and North Carolina mirrors that of the women’s tennis teams from the two schools last Saturday - when the higher ranked Tar Heels prevailed. For the two men’s teams, the Golden Bears are the higher ranked team. An additional wrinkle to the symmetry, Cal women’s bid to repeat as ITA Indoor champs were stopped by North Carolina. Cal men now get the chance to prevent the North Carolina men from repeating as ITA Indoor champions.
The Cal vs. UNC meet will take place at 12:30 PM PT. A potential Sunday match vs. the winner of host Virginia or UCLA will also be scheduled for 12:30 PM PT.
Somewhat surprisingly, the only ranked Tar Heels are the doubles pair of Blumberg/Kelly at No.21 and #1 singles player Ronnie Schneider at No.16.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
After Cal Women’s Tennis fell short in their bid to repeat as ITA Indoor national champs, it will be the turn of Cal Men’s Tennis this weekend to build upon their NCAA team semifinalist finish last year and bring back to Berkeley program’s 4th overall team national title (and the 3rd one from the ITA Indoor). In the 125 year history of Cal Men’s Tennis, Cal has won the 1925 NCAA title (which predates the official NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship title that started in 1946) and two ITA Indoor titles in 1980 and 1989. Buried in the official Cal Bears website is the following history of the Cal Men’s Tennis program:
From its founding in 1892 to the present day, the men's tennis program at the University of California has enjoyed a long and proud tradition of excellence.
The Bears have been a force on the national collegiate tennis scene since 1925, when Cal won its first national team title. Cal swept the national championships that year, as Bud Chandler brought the Bears their first national singles title while Gervais Hillis and Gerald Stratford's completed the tennis triple crown with a national doubles championship. In 1926, Cal finished fifth in the nation as a team, with Chandler successfully defending his singles title, then teaming with Tom Stow (Cal's head coach from 1933-46) to capture the doubles championship.
Cal has been ranked among the nation's Top 10 teams 21 times since 1925, including seven seasons in which the Bears finished among the nation's top three. A total of 18 Golden Bear players have won national championships, bringing home a collective four singles and 13 doubles national titles. Since 1980 alone, the Bears have won two national team indoor titles (1980 and '89) two national singles titles ('80 and '85) and two NCAA Doubles Championships ('90 and '91).
The Golden Bears are 3-0 on the young season after defeating Cal Poly 4-0 and Tulane 4-2 at home during the ITA Kickoff Weekend. Bears followed up with a tough 4-2 road win at Pepperdine last weekend. After being ranked No.4 in the preseason poll, the Bears stay in the top 5.
Cal stayed at No. 5 in this week's #USTATop25 #GoBears— Cal Men's Tennis (@CalMensTennis) February 16, 2017
The 5th ranked and 4th seed California Golden Bears are one of 16 teams playing for the ITA Indoor Championships this weekend. First up for the Golden Bears are the non-Golden Bears of Baylor, ranked 13th in the country. Should the Cal Bears survive the Bears on Bears attack, they will advance to face the winner between 5th seed North Carolina (8th ranked by the USTA Top 25) and Georgia Bulldogs (12th ranked).
Looking ahead, a potential semifinal may pit the Golden Bears against top rank and home team Virginia (who ended the Bears’ run in the NCAA semifinal last year en route to the 2nd of back-to-back NCAA championships). UVA will open against Utah State before playing the winner of UCLA/USC.
On the other side of the bracket, there are 2nd seed Wake Forest, 3rd seed Ohio State, 6th seed Northwestern, and 7th seed Florida. 10th seed Texas, who will visit Berkeley later this season, opens against the Florida Gators.
Check back on this post throughout the weekend for the latest update on the Bears’ run through this 4-day tournament.
Cal Bears will open play on Friday at 12:30 PM PT against Baylor. For $20 for the month, fans can watch the action on FloTennis. The tournament main page is linked here.
Similar to the women, Cal Men’s Tennis returned most of the key players from last year’s squad.
In doubles, the top pair for the Bears is again Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat (ranked 3rd in the country). The Bears also have a familiar pairing of Andre Goransson and Billy Griffith as No.2 doubles. No.3 doubles see the pairing of freshman Bjorn Hoffmann with junior J.T. Nishimura.
For singles, the returning Bears are Lakat (ranked 11th) at No.1, Goransson (ranked 27th) at No.2, Bergevi (ranked 42nd) at No.3, and Griffith (ranked 40th) at No.4. Newcomer Hoffmann, who was 12-3 in singles during the fall, is playing at No.5. Fellow freshman Connor Heap from New Zealand have taken over No.6 singles from Nishimura.
In both the Tulane and Pepperdine matches, the Bears dropped a point when freshman Bjorn Hoffman lost his match. Against Pepperdine, Lakat was upset in court 1 but the Bears clinched before the court 6 match which has headed to the 3rd set could finish. At Pepperdine, freshman Connor Heap also dropped his singles match. For the Bears to make a deep run this weekend, they probably need the two freshmen to step up in singles.
For the Baylor Bears, they have the doubles pair of Will Little and Johannes Schretter ranked 41st and two singles players in Juan Benitez and Max Tchoutakian ranked 54th and 57th, respectively. The 7-0 Baylor defeated Texas A&M (4-3) and SMU (4-0) at Texas A&M during the ITA Kick-off Weekend.
In case you missed it, the future should remain bright for Cal Men’s Tennis as they welcome the top ranked recruiting class this fall to replace seniors Florian Lakat, Filip Bergevi, and Andre Goransson.
.@CalMensTennis Recruiting Class Named No. 1— Cal Athletics (@CalATHLETICS) February 1, 2017
: https://t.co/j6okI6CO8E #GoBears pic.twitter.com/D4FphNlELE