Cal Plays No. 2 USC, No. 3 UCLA in SoCal
BERKELEY - Thirteenth-ranked California faces one of the stiffest tests of its dual-meet season when it heads south to battle second-ranked - and four time defending NCAA champion - USC on Friday, Feb. 8, and third-ranked UCLA on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Cal brings a talented lineup into this week's competitions, with senior Christoffer Konigsfeldt ranked No. 42 in singles, junior Ben McLachlan ranked No. 66, sophomore Chase Melton at No. 92 and freshman Mads Engsted ranked No. 93 by the ITA. Last fall, McLachlan captured the singles title at the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships and paired with his brother - senior Riki McLachlan - to win the regional doubles title. Cal also collected the team trophy for the most number of wins at the regional, an honor that the Bears have also had four of the last five years.
The McLachlans form the seventh-ranked doubles team in the nation.
In the ITA Northwest Regional poll, Ben McLachlan is the top-ranked singles player and junior Campbell Johnson is No. 15. In the regional doubles rankings, the McLachlan brothers top the poll, the duo of Johnson and freshman Mads Engsted rank sixth and Konigsfeldt/sophomore Gregory Bayane rank eighth.
Konigsfeldt Plays for Denmark
Christoffer Konigsfeldt missed Cal's Feb. 2 win over Pacific (see below) to compete for his native Denmark in a Davis Cup match against Romania from Feb. 1-3 in Club Napoca, Romania. The host swept the Danes, 5-0, in Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 play, with Konigsfeldt suffering a 6-4, 6-3, defeat against Marius Copil.
Scouting the Opposition
Besides winning the last four NCAA team titles, USC also captured the 2012 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship. As a freshman last year, current sophomore Yannick Hanffman won the singles matches that clinched the NCAA team and ITA indoor championships.
Seven USC players are ranked in the ITA national singles and Southwest Regional singles polls: No. 10 (national)/2 (regional) Raymond Sarmiento. No. 24/5 Roberto Quiroz. No. 27/4 Emilio Gomez. No. 61/7 Eric Johnson. No. 78/11 Max de Vroome. No. 84/10 Hanffman. No. 121 (tied)/12 Johnny Wang. Two Bruins are ranked nationally and regionally: No. 12/3. Marcus Giron. No. 41/6. Denis Mkrtchian.
Neither opponent has a nationally ranked doubles team in the most recent ITA polls. But in the ITA Southwest Regional Rankings, USC's Hanffman and Johnson top the poll, the Trojans' Quiroz/de Vroome are No. 2, UCLA's Giron/Dennis Novikov sit at No. 5 and the Bruins' Mkrtchian/Warren Hardie are ranked No. 10.
The Cal men's tennis team will debut on the Pac-12 Networks when conference television showcases its March 31 match against USC at the Hellman Tennis Complex. That match is slated to start at 2 p.m.
Thirteenth-ranked Cal remained undefeated early in the dual-meet season by besting the Pacific Tigers, 5-2, on Feb. 2 at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The Golden Bears (3-0) won the doubles point and went 4-2 in singles against the Tigers (3-2).
No. 13 Cal 5, Pacific 2
Feb. 2 in Berkeley
Hellman Tennis Complex
1: B. McLachlan/R. McLachlan defeated Golding/Verbeek - 8-1
2: Johnson/Engsted defeated Stoyaro/James - 8-3
3: Houghton/Melton vs. Hamilton/Alameh - DNF
(Cal wins the doubles point)
1: B. McLachlan defeated Golding - 6-3, 6-3
2: Johnson defeated Mirkin - 6-3, 6-4
3: Bayane lost to Verbeek, 6-3, 4-6, 1-0(7)
4: R. McLachlan defeated Hamilton - 6-4, 6-4
5: Engsted defeated Alameh - 6-0, 6-3
6: Melton lost to Stolyarov - 6-2, 6-2
Cal heads to Seattle for the Feb. 15-18 ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship.