Northern California’s stormy weather has forced the No. 4 Cal men’s tennis team (2-0) to reschedule its match against No. 20 Stanford (3-1) for the second time. Luckily for the Bears, Sunday’s match versus unranked Pepperdine (2-2) will take place in Malibu, which will hopefully feature Southern California’s sunny, blue-skied weather and no possibility of cancellation.
Aside from having a stellar location right next to the beach, the Waves don’t really have much going for them tennis-wise. Pepperdine doesn’t seem like it will be much competition for the Bears, who have won their first two matches of the season. While Cal’s three seniors — No. 11 Florian Lakat, No. 27 Andre Goransson, and No. 42 Filip Bergevi — can surely carry the team, No. 40 junior Billy Griffith and freshman Bjorn Hoffmann have also played significant roles in the Bears’ success so far.
In his first dual tennis match of his college career, Hoffmann clinched both the doubles point and the match win for Cal, proving his reliability and already displaying glimmers of greatness that should be expected in the future.
Griffith has been paired up with Goransson and the pair was previously ranked No. 45. The duo is 1-0 in doubles so far, with their first match versus Tulane being abandoned. Griffith and Goransson, individually, are each 1-0 in singles as well, displaying their consistency in both singles and doubles.
While a ranking of No. 45 is pretty impressive, the Bears’ best doubles team is the pair of No. 3 Lakat and Bergevi, who are arguably the best doubles team in college tennis. It is no surprise that the two have won their past two matches — they should be expected to beat pretty much every other doubles team they face in the future. Both Lakat and Bergevi are also ranked in singles, having had success both last fall and spring.
While Lakat might have faltered a bit versus Tulane’s then-No. 54 Constantin Schmitz,the performance can be chalked up to a bad day, and in the end it’s all about the team’s overall success.
Bergevi has displayed his strength in the midst of struggles, setting a good example for the rest of the team and showing that his role as a team leader is much deserved. Bergevi has won both of his singles matches so far this spring. Starting the season off on the right foot will give Cal a good base to propel itself forward as the season progresses.
The Bears display an impressive lineup, making it understandable as to why they are a top-five ranked team in the nation.
In contrast, Pepperdine doesn’t seem to boast any star players or have any extraordinary statistics, so this weekend’s match for the Bears should be fairly easy. The Waves lost both matches at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Berkeley to Tulane and Cal Poly — both teams that Cal beat.
The Bears should be itching to play at this point, and what location could be better than Malibu? Luckily, the weather predictions show sunny skies, giving the team a chance to not only get back on the courts but to work on their tans with the beach right next door.
Taylor Choe covers men’s tennis. Contact her at [email protected]