The Cal men’s tennis team (6-2) has returned from the sunny skies of La Jolla, California, to a wet and damp Berkeley. With rain forecasted for Sunday, this weekend’s match has been moved inside to the Broadway Tennis Center in Burlingame, California.
No. 14 Cal lost to then-No. 5 Oklahoma State, 4-3, on March 3 in a tough match that tested the Bears’ mettle. In particular, their slow start in doubles cost them, as they were outplayed against a strong Cowboys team that featured the now-No. 9 doubles team in Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe.
Following the match, both teams had members participate in the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Tournament. Coincidentally, the seventh-seeded duo of Cal associate head coach Tyler Browne and sophomore J.T. Nishimura faced off against the top seeded pair of Cash and Kadhe in the semifinals. Browne and Nishimura lost, however, while Cash and Kadhe went on to win the tournament.
“A tournament like La Jolla is one of the ways we can continue to improve in doubles,” said Cal head coach Peter Wright. “We’ll be seeing if we can apply what we’ve learned in the last week.”
The Bears will look to bounce back in a dual match against Purdue on Sunday. The Boilermakers are coming off a dominating 4-1 win over their rival Indiana in their Big Ten opener. The win brought Purdue to an impressive 11-2 on the season. On the road, the Boilermakers are 3-1, with the loss coming against Drake, snapping an eight-match winning streak.
“(Purdue) is much improved from last year,” Wright said. “This year, they’ve reloaded and they’re back to being very difficult team to play against. We don’t have the luxury of having any competition that isn’t really ranked competition almost from here to the rest of the way out.”
The Boilermakers are led by Gergely Madarasz, a redshirt sophomore now ranked 69th in singles. Madarasz moved up the rankings after upsetting then-No. 37 Hoosier Sam Monette in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. The win currently stands as the highest ranked opponent a Boilermaker has beaten this season.
One key to the match for both teams is winning the doubles point. Purdue has performed exceptionally well after claiming the point, running an undefeated 7-0 record in matches where the point was won. Winning the point would disrupt the Boilermakers rhythm and establish the Bears’ strength.
“The team is performing well,” said Cal senior Oskar Wikberg. “We have good talent and a really hard working group of guys. When you combine talent with hard work, good things will happen.”
On paper, Cal has a lot of talent. Four nationally ranked players lead the Bears: No. 10 Andre Goransson, No. 31 Florian Lakat, No. 37 Billy Griffith and No. 52 Wikberg. The doubles team of Goransson and Lakat is also ranked 70th.
“Our guys are hungry to play,” Wright said. “So let’s go play.”