This Week for the Wildcats: The No. 75 University of Arizona men’s tennis team (5-9) will travel north as they head to Phoenix, Ariz. to take on rival No. 56 Arizona State (8-6). The Wildcats and the Sun Devils will square off on March 24 at noon.
Last week: In a tough back-to-back matchup, the Wildcats were up against the two top teams from the Pac-10. On March 16, the No. 8 UCLA Bruins came to Tucson and handed Arizona a 7-0 loss. The match was much more competitive than the 7-0 score may indicate. “You can tell by the match scores that the no one got killed, every set was decided by one break of serve or a tiebreaker,” said Arizona assistant coach Tom Lloyd. “In the end, things just didn’t go our way.” It is the only 7-0 loss Arizona has endured this season. The following day, the Wildcats fell 6-1 at the hands of the No. 7 USC Trojans. Arizona was in position to take the first set in four of the six singles matches, but was only able to successfully come away with one. Arizona’s No. 1, junior Claudio Christen, captured the only point for the Wildcats on the weekend with a 6-4, 6-4 upset over USC’s Dejan Cvetkovic, No. 42 in FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings.
Against Arizona Sate: Currently, the Wildcats hold a favorable 58-35 advantage over the Sun Devils. Arizona won the last meeting on April 22 of last season 5-2.
Scouting the Sun Devils: ASU got off to a strong start this spring, winning their first six matches. The streak included victories over No. 63 Santa Clara University and No. 42 Georgia Tech. Since then, the Sun Devils have gone 2-6 and are in the midst of a four-match skid. Arizona State is one of only a handful of teams ranked in the top 60 that lack an individually ranked singles player. Based on performances against common opponents this season, the matchup with Arizona should be close. Both squads have experienced similar success and struggles against the same teams.
Wildcats in the Rankings: After their two losses over the weekend, the Wildcats have dropped thirteen spots and are currently in a tie with five other teams at No. 75.
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 USC ranks the highest among Pac-10 teams at No. 7. Perennial powerhouse UCLA is not far behind at No. 8, with Washington next at No. 27. Cal-Berkeley and Stanford are at No. 38 and No. 61, respectively. Arizona State is No. 56, slightly ahead of the No. 75 Arizona Wildcats. Oregon is currently the only Pac-10 men’s tennis team not ranked.
Next Week: In the upcoming week the Wildcats will have the opportunity to avenge two losses from earlier this season as they begin conference play by hosting two matches at home. The action begins on March 30 at 1:30 p.m. as Arizona takes on No. 61 Stanford, followed by a noon match against No. 38 Cal-Berkeley the following day. Both matches will be held at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Complex.