Cal men’s tennis continues doubles hot streak in Davis

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For the second weekend in a row, the Cal men’s tennis team has captured a doubles title at a prestigious tournament — this time at the Aggie Invitational in Davis. Juniors Dominic Barretto and Mert Zincirli teamed up for the first time, forming a duo that seemed unstoppable throughout the event.

Dominic’s older brother, Marco Barretto, played for USF for four years from 2014-2018, where he was teammates with Zincirli. Dominic, a junior for the Bears, didn’t get a chance to play with Zincirli until the latter transferred from USF to Cal this offseason.

“Mert is a super, super clutch doubles player — he has nerves of steel. Anytime the ball comes to him when it’s a big point, I trust him so much to make the shot,” Dominic Barretto said. “It felt like we had been playing together for years.”

Barretto was disappointed after falling in the first round of singles at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic last weekend and was not going to let the same happen in Davis.

“I was actually really, really excited to get to Davis,” Barretto said. “I was actually a little nervous because I hadn’t done so well in Milwaukee, so this last week I practiced a lot. I practiced every day for at least two hours a day getting prepared for Davis.”

Barretto went into the weekend as a two-time veteran of the Aggie Invitational, a tournament that is split into three flights separated by tier. He went to the singles finals of the B flight his freshman year and won the same bracket the next year. This was his first year in the top-tiered A flight, where he and Zincirli were the No. 1-ranked doubles pairing in the tournament.

“I was trying to manage my expectations for Davis,” Barretto said. “I was prepared for any possibility.”

After receiving a bye in the first round, the Bears knocked off teams from Santa Clara University (8-6) and Stanford (8-5) to reach the finals. Barretto and Zincirli then beat another Stanford team 8-3 to take the title.

“It’s not easy to win Davis,” Barretto said. “Holding our own, especially in the final, was really big for us.”

The tournament featured mostly local teams and served as an important gauge of how well the Bears are playing, especially in relation to the Cardinal, who are conference rivals.

In singles, Zincirli lost to Portland 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals, and Barretto was bested 6-1, 6-4 in his third Stanford matchup of the tournament.

“Getting those two wins against Stanford were really good for me,” Barretto said. “It gets me a really good look on how I can do against these guys, and it gives me confidence against a lot of the other teams.”

For Dominic Barretto and other Bears, the fall season culminates at the ITA Northwest Regional Championships in Seattle. Every player available from Cal will attend, and the winners receive invitations to the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships.

“Everything honestly is good for the spring season, but regionals is where I like to focus, put my attention in,” Barretto said. “There are tons of guys that play Davis that we end up playing in the regional tournament in a couple of weeks.”

Even after winning the doubles bracket, Barretto said practice and experience was the main focus for him personally.

“Even if I had lost in the first day, I was going to come back and play more sign-up matches,” Barretto said. “I was really pumped to win.”

Trilok Reddy covers men’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].