Cal men’s tennis to face regional opponents in Seattle

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The Cal men’s tennis team is coming off some great performances in past tournaments this season, but the most important one will be fought this weekend. The ITA Northwest Regional Championships, a five-day annual tournament, will be held in Seattle this year from Oct. 11-15 hosted by the University of Washington.

In the last month, the Bears won two doubles titles: Can Kaya and Paul Barretto at the Milwaukee Classic and Dominic Barretto and Mert Zincirli at the Aggie Invitational. Kaya also won a title in singles at the UCSB Classic.

Last week, two Cal players, Jacob Brumm and Yuta Kikuchi, beat three teams ranked No. 30 or higher at the ITA All-American Championships, including the No. 1 team in the nation.

As the spring season looms, however, the Bears are looking toward regional and Pac-12 competitors.

“Their results are strong so far, and we’d like to build on that,” said Peter Wright, the men’s tennis director. “The one tournament we really look at is the one all of our guys play in, and that’s the ITA Regionals.”

The ITA Northwest Regional Championships features most Division I schools in the Northern Pacific. It will be attended by Stanford, UC Davis, Oregon, Washington and San Francisco, among others.

Last spring, the Bears played San Francisco, Oregon, Washington and Stanford in regular season full matches. This tournament will be an important testing ground for Cal, as every member except one will attend and have the opportunity to practice against these regional rivals.

In addition to the regional attendance of the tournament, the top doubles team and the top two singles players will be given automatic invites to the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Surprise, Arizona. The tournament, held from Nov. 7-11, features the champions from each of the 12 regions around the country, as well as several at-large bids.

In the previous season, then Cal seniors J.T. Nishimura and Billy Griffith reached the doubles finals before being knocked off by Oregon in a match that ended in a close tiebreaker.

Then freshman Jack Molloy also reached the finals before being bested by Portland’s No. 95 Michail Pervolarakis, but the runner-up finish granted him an invite to the Oracle National Fall Championships.

Brackets for the ITA Regionals will be released early Thursday. Last year, Griffith, Molloy, Brumm and Barretto were seeded 1st, 5th, 8th and 12th in singles, respectively. In doubles, Griffith/Nishimura, Barretto/Barretto and Brumm/Malloy were seeded 1st, 7th, and 9th, respectively.

With their strong performances in past tournaments, this year it is likely that the Bears will again enjoy favorable seeding. Additionally, with the return of Molloy and five other sophomores, Cal has a lot of potential to succeed at this tournament.

This year, the regional championship is held a week earlier than normal, giving the Cal team less time to recover from the ITA All-American Championships and UCSB Classic played this past week. After this, however, the Bears get a week break before the St. Mary’s Invitational begins Oct. 26.

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