TUCSON, Ariz. ?- After yesterdays close 4-3 loss to No. 55 Stanford, Arizona men’s tennis assistant coach Tom Lloyd called out his squad for not “showing up.” The team responded today in a valiant effort against No. 48 Cal-Berkeley (11-7). With the dual tied at three, freshman Ravid Hezi was forced to retire after suffering a sprained ankle, giving Cal a 4-3 win.
At No.1 doubles, juniors Jason Labrosse and Claudio Christen took care of Berkeley sophomores Eoin Heavey and Geoff Chizever 8-5. Arizona’s Hezi and Bruno Alcala reached a tiebreaker on court No. 2 against John Pettit and Kallim Stewart. Up 6-3 in the breaker, Hezi jumped on a sitter in the middle of the court and ripped a clean winner that passed right between the opposition. The shot clinched the doubles point for the Wildcats, the first in their last eight duals. Peter Zimmer and Francois VanderMerwe completed the sweep with a 9-8(6) victory over Ken Nakahara and Daniel Sebescen. It was only the second doubles sweep for Arizona this season, and its first since Jan. 20.
In singles, Christen sustained Arizona’s momentum as he turned in his most dominant performance of the season in a forty-five minute 6-0, 6-1 upset over No. 20 Pierre Mouillon. The Golden Bears then managed to tie the overall score at two as Chizever and Stewart defeated Zimmer and Alex Labrosse at No.’s 5 and 6, respectively. Jason Labrosse maintained strong play from his doubles match to top Sebescan in straight sets and provide the Wildcats with a 3-2 advantage. With two matches remaining, Arizona only needed one more victory to secure an upset. Alcala gave it his all before falling to Heavey 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4 in a three-hour marathon, leaving all of the pressure on Hezi. After dropping the first set to Nakahara in a tiebreaker, Hezi bounced back to take the second. Down 1-0 in the third, Hezi scrambled to reach a drop shot on the deuce side. After returning it short in the opposite service box, Nakahara placed the ball deep on the ad side. In an attempt to chase the ball down, Hezi injured his left ankle, leading to an injury timeout. Hezi tried to return but could not complete the match. The final score was 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 2-0 before Hezi retired, giving Cal a 4-3 win.
Despite the loss, Arizona showed a distinguishable improvement in comparison to their performance from the previous day. “This was definitely a response to Tom’s challenge yesterday,” said Christen. “You could see today that all the guys were fighting. When we play like this we can compete with anyone; we’re a completely different team.”
Next weekend, the Wildcats travel to Los Angeles, Calif. as they take on No. 9 USC and No. 11 UCLA. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and will take place on consecutive days beginning April 6. Arizona is currently 5-12 overall and 0-2 in Pac-10 play.
No. 48 California 4, No. 75 Arizona 3
1. Christen/J. Labrosse (UA) def. Heavey/Chizever (Cal) 8-5
2. Alcala/Hezi (UA) def. Pettit/Stewart (Cal) 9-8(3)
3. Francois VanderMerwe/Zimmer (UA) def. Nakahara/Sebescen 9-8(6)
1. Christen (UA) def. No. 20 Pierre Mouillon (Cal) 6-0, 6-1
2. Eoin Heavey (Cal) def Alcala (UA) 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4
3. Ken Nakahara (Cal) def. Hezi (UA) 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 2-0 ret.
4. J. Labrosse (UA) def. Daniel Sebescen (UA) 6-3, 6-2
5. Geoff Chizever (Cal) def. Zimmer (UA) 6-3, 6-2
6. Kallim Stewart (Cal) def A. Labrosse (UA) 6-4, 6-3