In classic Cal fashion, No. 35 Cal men’s tennis fell to unranked Washington this weekend but managed to take down No. 45 Oregon to finish 4-4 in conference play. The Bears traveled to both matches and lost Friday in Seattle after the match was decided by a single point, but they turned it around the next day to sweep the Ducks, 4-0.
At Washington, Jacob Brumm made his return to the courts after missing several matches because of a wrist injury. The duo of No. 32 Brumm and his partner Yuta Kikuchi played Washington’s No. 75 Jack Davis and Piers Foley and defeated them 7-5 in a close match on court one. Paul Barretto and Can Kaya also bested their opponents on court two, giving Cal the doubles point. This was only the second doubles point the Bears had won in Pac-12 play — the other one being from the very first match against Arizona in early March.
Despite the early Cal lead, Washington was able to rally and win three straight singles matches. Brumm, Barretto and Jack Molloy lost in succession to put Washington ahead 3-1.
Kikuchi, Ben Draper and Bjorn Hoffmann all went to three sets in their matches. Draper and Hoffmann were able to come out ahead to tie up the match, leaving it all to freshman Kikuchi on court one. Kikuchi was able to take a 4-2 lead in the third, but Washington’s Enzo Sommer was able to come back and force a tiebreaker. Eventually, Kikuchi fell 9-7 in the tiebreaker as the Huskies completed the upset over the Bears.
This loss ended the Bears’ nine-game winning streak over the Huskies dating back to 2012.
The next day, Cal went to Eugene with a vengeance, as Barretto and Kaya, along with the duo of Draper and Mert Zincirli, secured the doubles point for the Bears. After that, it was just a race to see who could win the fastest for Cal.
Draper came out on top first, defeating his opponent 6-3, 6-1. Hoffmann then secured another point with two straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Molloy closed out his match in just under an hour to clinch the sweep for the Bears.
With this win, Cal ended a two-game losing streak against Oregon and maintains its perfect 9-0 away record dating back to 2001.
Last weekend marked the final regular-season matches for the Bears, who will travel to Ojai, California for the Pac-12 championships this week. Cal finished 4-4 in conference, which is good for the fourth seed in the tournament. The team will play five-seeded No. 27 Arizona State, which is also 4-4 in conference but was defeated by the Bears in the regular season.
The Bears won 4-2 when the Sun Devils came to Berkeley in March but were defeated by them 4-3 in the same month at the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Tennis Challenge presented by Oracle in Indian Wells, California.
The matches this weekend demonstrate the inconsistency Cal has shown this season, especially when it comes down to clinching close matches. The team’s success in the tournament depends entirely on which of the Bears show up — the ones who lost to unranked Washington or the ones who swept No. 45 Oregon.
Trilok Reddy covers men’s tennis. Contact him at