This Week for the Wildcats: No. 61 Arizona (1-1) heads to Albuquerque, N.M. for matches on back-to-back days against No. 63 Nebraska and No. 73 New Mexico. Both matches will be played at the UNM Tennis Complex on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, respectively.
Last week: The Arizona men’s tennis team opened the season with a victory over Northern Arizona 6-1. Two days later the Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season to No. 58 Saint Mary’s College of California 4-1. In singles, Junior Bruno Alcala earned Arizona its only point of the match at the No. 4 spot. Alcala defeated Andrea Zannoni in straight sets 7-5, 6-1. Three of the other four matches went to three sets, all ended in favor of SMC. The win propelled previously unranked Saint Mary’s to No. 58 in the FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings.
Against Nebraska: This is only the third meeting between the Wildcats and the Huskers. Nebraska has never defeated Arizona.
Scouting the Huskers: After dropping its first match of the season to No. 60 Oklahoma, the Nebraska men’s tennis team defeated Loyola Marymount 6-1 on Saturday to make its record an even 1-1. Their match against No. 45 Fresno State was canceled due to rain. The Huskers are led by senior Adrian Szatmary, who is ranked No. 78 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Against New Mexico: Since 1960, this will be the fortieth time the Wildcats and Lobos have met on the court. Heading into the match this week, Arizona carries a favorable 32-7 advantage in the series. Last season, Arizona won 6-1.
Scouting the Lobos: Heading into the 2007 spring season, the University of New Mexico men’s tennis team was unranked. That quickly changed after the Lobos upset BYU, who were ranked No. 73 at the time, 4-0 at the ITA Mountain Regional Championship. In their next match the Lobos faced No. 25 Boise State, losing to the Broncos 5-0. The Lobos are currently tied in the rankings at No. 73 with the University of the Pacific. New Mexico’s No. 1 player, Junior Max Jones, has obtained a preseason singles ranking of No. 73. Including matches from the fall tournament season, Jones possesses an overall record of 22-7.
Wildcats in the Rankings: The Wildcats fell 13 spots in the FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings this week to No. 61, down from their preseason position of No. 48. Junior Claudio Christen is the only ranked singles player for Arizona at No. 86.
Brilliant Bruno: Junior Bruno Alcala is a perfect 3-0 overall in the spring season thus far, standing alone as the only undefeated player on the Arizona roster. Through two singles matches he is yet to lose a set. Last week, Alcala earned the Wildcats only point in a tough loss to Saint Mary’s College of California.
Fall Action: Fall tournament results were sporadic for Arizona, with some players falling in the early rounds while others pulled out unexpected victories. The Wildcats ended their tournament schedule on a high note as Bruno Alcala and Claudio Christen teamed up to reach the semifinals of the ITA West Regional Championships. The team’s only sophomore, Tucson’s own Peter Zimmer, compiled the best record through the fall at 7-3. Christen pulled the biggest upset of the fall, defeating Baylor’s Michal Kokta, who was No. 23 in the nation at the time.
Pac-10 Elite: Once again the Pac-10 is the premier conference in the nation for men’s tennis. In the current rankings perennial powerhouse UCLA ranks the highest among Pac-10 teams at No. 4. Washington is next at No. 16 with Cal-Berkeley and Stanford not far behind at No.18 and No. 19, respectively. Arizona State is No. 57, slightly ahead of the No. 61 Wildcats. Oregon is currently the only Pac-10 team not ranked, but finished last season at No. 70.
Next Week: Arizona will return home to square off against Santa Clara and Louisiana Lafayette. The Wildcats will face the Broncos at 1 p.m. (MST) on Saturday, Feb. 10. Arizona will take on the Ragin’ Cajuns at noon (MST) on Sunday, Feb. 11.