March 3, 2010
BERKELEY - The Golden Bears hit the road for matches away from the Hellman Tennis Complex for the next three-and-a-half weeks beginning with a neutral-site dual against Michigan. Cal can no longer sneak up on opponents as it cracked the top 10 in the latest Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll. The No. 10 ranking is the highest position the Bears have held since finishing 2003 ranked No. 4 in the nation. That season, Cal opened the spring at No. 10 and steadily rose in the ranks towards its NCAA quarterfinal finish. The Wolverines are a familiar foe for Cal. The two teams met in the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic to open the 2009 fall tournament season (Sept. 18-20) in St. Helena, Calif. The Bears look to solidify one more dual victory before entering the USTA's 121st-annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship in La Jolla, Calif. Cal will field several doubles teams in the pairs exhibition at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club before preparing for two road dual matches the following week. The Bears wield some major firepower with ranked players holding steady at the top three singles courts. No. 42-ranked junior Pedro Zerbini tops all players on that list with freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt earning his highest ranking at No. 59 this week. Junior Jonathan Dahan checks in at No. 73. Cal's lineup also features two of the top 30 doubles teams in the country. Konigsfeldt teams with sophomore Nick Andrews to form the No. 20-ranked duo in the nation while Dahan and Zerbini hold the No. 30 ranking.
THIS WEEK: The No. 10-ranked California men's tennis team (8-2) will meet No. 36 Michigan (3-5) in a neutral-site dual match at the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., on Thursday (March 4) at 1 p.m. PT. Following the dual match, the Golden Bears will break into various doubles teams to compete in the USTA's 121st-annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship hosted by the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif. Please visit www.ljbtc.com for more information about the tennis club or www.usta.com (tournament ID No. 651811110) for more information about the doubles championships. Radio Tennis (www.radiotennis.com) will be on hand to provide webcast audio for selected matches at the championships beginning at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday, March 6.
BEAR TRACKER: Updated draws and results for the 121st-annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championships can be found at www.usta.com under tournament ID No. 651811110. Selected matches beginning with the semifinal rounds will be audio webcasted by Radio Tennis beginning at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday, March 6. Please visit www.radiotennis.com for more information and to listen live. All of Cal's home dual matches at the Hellman Tennis Complex will feature live video with scoring. Visit the men's tennis home page at CalBears.com for links. Admission to all regular-season home tennis matches is free to the general public.
ON COURT - NO. 36 MICHIGAN: The Wolverines (3-5) are coming off two losses to top-20 teams; No. 22 North Carolina (6-1) and No. 20 Wake Forest (5-2). Cal and Michigan are quite familiar with each other as the teams met in round-robin tournament matches at the 2009 Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic (Sept. 18-20) in St. Helene, Calif. The Bears took five out of nine singles matches but the Wolverines held the upper hand in doubles with four wins out of five tries. The teams also met in the 2009 ITA Kick-Off Weekend event hosted by North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. Michigan claimed a 5-2 victory to advance and draw North Carolina. Junior Jason Jung is ranked No. 46 in singles and leads the team with 13 singles victories. While just three of those wins have come in dual matches, Jung has claimed six wins over ranked opponents. Freshman Evan King and junior Chris Madden each have 11 singles wins apiece and each hold 4-4 marks in dual matches. Jung and King team up to form the No. 35-ranked doubles team in the nation. The pair has posted a 5-2 record in dual matches and is 6-3 overall. Seniors Mike Sroczynski and George Navas hold down the second doubles court for the Wolverines with a 6-1 resume, 7-2 overall. Michigan owns a 3-2 edge in the all-time series against Cal.
THE PACIFIC COAST MEN'S DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Bears will participate in the 121st-annual running of the Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championships in La Jolla, Calif. this week. The doubles championship is hosted by the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club (www.ljbtc.com) and is the second-oldest tennis event in the United States with a rich tournament history. First held in 1890 at the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, Calif., the event was created to promote the sale of real estate on the Monterey peninsula. The original concept pitted the best players from the East versus those from the West. In fact, it was this coast-to-coast rivalry which was the inspiration for the Davis Cup. Past Winners include Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Tony Trabert, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Dennis Ralston, and John McEnroe.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Fans and media can purchase Cal men's tennis photos at GoldenBearSports.com, the official photographer of Cal Athletics. Follow @GBSports on Twitter to get instant notifications when new albums and galleries are posted to the website. Visit www.twitter.com/gbsports to follow.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bears earned a 6-1 victory over Utah at the Hellman Tennis Complex to bounce back from just their second defeat of the season. With inclement weather playing a factor, the teams agreed to play singles matches first. Cal clinched win with a 4-1 advantage as No. 42-ranked junior Pedro Zerbini closed the deal on a 6-4, 6-1 win over Phillip Eilers at the top court. Freshman Riki McLachlan set the Bears in the right direction as he jumped off the courts in just over an hour to defeat Dmytro Mamedov at the fifth singles court, 6-0, 6-1. Freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt christened his new career-high ranking of No. 59 and earned his team-leading 21st singles victory with a 6-3, 6-1 decision against Jason Smits at court two. The teams only played two doubles matches to conclude the proceedings with the outcome already decided.
BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Bears are ranked No. 10 as a team in the most recent (March 2) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Poll. The ranking is Cal's highest in seven years since it held the No. 4 ranking to conclude the 2003 season. That year, the Bears opened at No. 10 and steadily rose in the ranks towards a quarterfinal finish in the NCAA championships. Cal has three ranked singles players led by No. 42-ranked junior Pedro Zerbini. Freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt received his highest career-ranking at No. 59 this week with junior Jonathan Dahan checking in at No. 73. In doubles, sophomore Nick Andrews and Konigsfeldt are ranked No. 20 and have played the entire dual season at court two. Dahan and Zerbini are ranked No. 30 as a doubles team.
POWER OF THE PAC: Six of the seven Pac-10 men's tennis teams hold rankings; five are within the top 25 of the most recent (March 2) Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll--making it one of the toughest conferences in men's collegiate tennis. Defending NCAA Champion USC leads the conference as the fifth-ranked team in the country with defending conference champion UCLA in tow at No. 6. Stanford stands at No. 9 with the Bears just a step back at No. 10. Washington checks in at No. 22 with Arizona just outside at No. 35. Just Oregon is without a ranking. In 2009, in addition to producing the national champion, the Pac-10 produced five ITA All-America selections and was home to the National Rookie of the Year in Stanford's Bradley Klahn.
KONIGSFELDT DOUBLES UP ON CONFERENCE HONORS: Freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt was selected Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 1-7, and repeated the feat for the week of Feb. 15-21. The native of Denmark led the Golden Bears to victories over Fresno State, Hawaii and Stanford to capture his two honors and becomes just the third Cal player to receive the honor twice in the same season. He was also the Bears' first freshman ever to win the award and is the eighth all-time Pac-10 Player of the Week selection for the Cal men.
WHERE'S THE BEEF?: Junior Pedro Zerbini is a carnivore in every sense of the word. As somewhat of a contrarian to his surroundings, Zerbini prefers the taste of meat over that of vegetables. In fact, he chooses not to eat vegetables as a regular part of his diet. While Berkeley is widely known to provide many vegetarian and vegan dining options to the dense population of herbivores in the city limits, Zerbini may be the only meat-only eater on campus.
BO KNOWS: Junior Bozhidar Katsarov set a Cal men's tennis freshman record in 2008 as he won 35 singles matches and completed the year with a 17-7 mark in duals (35-11 overall). As a sophomore in 2009, Katsarov added 15 more victories in the face of injury and breached the 65-win plateau as a junior earlier this season.
DAHAN THAT ROCKS THE RACKET: Junior Jonathan Dahan has become a mainstay in the Cal lineup over the last three years. He earned 17 singles victories in each of his first two seasons and broke into the ITA singles rankings as a junior at No. 33 in the fall of 2009. He earned his first doubles ranking with partner Pedro Zerbini on Feb. 23, 2010, as the pair debuted at No. 31 in the nation.
FATHER FIGURE: Junior Zach Gilbert is the son of former tennis pro, television commentator and current tennis coach Brad Gilbert. The elder Gilbert won 20 singles titles as a pro and reached a world ranking of No. 4 in 1990. As a coach, Gilbert has tutored many internationally renowned stars including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.
BROTHERLY LOVE: Freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt is the younger brother of the top singles player at UC Santa Barbara, Alex Konigsfeldt. A 6-1 junior for the Gauchos, the elder Konigsfeldt advanced to the round of 32 at the 2008 ITA Regional Championships and was once ranked fifth nationally in Denmark's under-18 rankings. He won the 2007 Danish Junior Championship and reached the National Outdoor Championships semifinals in 2006.
FALL 2009 REVIEW: The Bears concluded the 2009 fall individual tournament season with several notable achievements. Cal had four singles players and four doubles teams advance to at least the round of 16 in the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. In singles, sophomore Nick Andrews made his way to the round of 16 where he was joined by freshman Christoffer Konigsfeldt, and juniors Bozhidar Katsarov and Pedro Zerbini. Konigsfeldt moved one round further before bowing out but Katsarov and Zerbini each advanced to the semifinal round, with Zerbini moving on to the championship match. While he was knocked out in the opening round, sophomore Sky Lovill turned things around and won the singles back draw with five consecutive victories. Andrews and Konigsfeldt; junior Jonathan Dahan and Zerbini; junior Zach Gilbert and Lovill; and the team of Katsarov and freshman Riki McLachalan all advanced to the doubles round of 16 with Andrews and Konigsfeldt moving ahead to the semifinal. Konigsfeldt claimed the singles championship at the Saint Mary's Invitational and went all the way to the doubles final with Zerbini. On the other side was Andrews and Lovill, but the two pairs never played the match. Andrews alone had a shot at the singles title, but fell to Konigsfeldt, and Katsarov also made it to the singles semifinal. Dahan and Zerbini showed strongly at the D'Novo/ITA All-American Championships as the duo moved into the round of 16 after getting three wins in the qualifying rounds.