May 31, 2002
BERKELEY, Calif. - The University of California men's and women's tennis teams both finished 13th-ranked in the nation, the ITA announced today. In addition, three men's singles and one doubles tandem completed 2002 with a ranking, while four women's singles and two doubles pairs were recognized.
John Paul Fruttero, who was the first Cal men's tennis player to advance to the NCAA Singles Quarterfinals since 1995, finished with the highest ranking of any Bear at No. 10. Fruttero compiled a 20-8 mark over the course of the season, twice defeating the ITA's top ranked player in Stanford's K.J Hippensteel (who finished No. 2) and Al Garland of Pepperdine (No. 6). In addition, Fruttero took down Minnesota's No. 5 Harsh Mankad to advance to the NCAA Singles Quarterfinals, and defeated No. 8 Tobias Clemens (UCLA) earlier in the year. Fruttero also joined partner Robert Kowalczyk to claim the No. 9 doubles ranking. The pair established a 15-10 record over the course of the season, advancing to the NCAA Doubles Round of 16.
On the women's side, 2001 Freshman of the Year Raquel Kops-Jones ranked the highest of the Bear women at No. 23 in singles. She was selected to the NCAA Singles Championship, but lost in the first round after leading the match going into a rain delay. In doubles, Kops-Jones appeared twice in the 60-deep rankings, at No. 14 with team captain Christina Fusano and No. 30 with Jody Scheldt. With Fusano, Kops-Jones won the Pac-10 Doubles Championship, despite the fact that the pair had never played together prior to the draw's opening round. To date, they have not lost a match, putting up a perfect 7-0 record through four Pac-10 Championship matches, and three NCAA Team Championship battles. With Scheldt, who she played with throughout most of the season, Kops-Jones was selected to the NCAA Doubles Championship, although the pair was up-ended in the first round.
Fusano claimed the No. 48 singles ranking. She, too, competed in the NCAA Singles Championship, although she lost in the first round. Sophomore Catherine Lynch, who finished 47th-ranked, was selected to compete, although was unable to due to a stress fracture in her leg. Sophomore Jieun Jacobs finished ranked 73rd.
Rounding out the rankings for the men, 2001 Freshman of the Year Balazs Veress improved over the course of the season, finishing 2002 with a No. 72 national ranking. Freshman Conor Niland gave Cal a glimpse at its future, coming in at No. 83.