Jacob Brumm and Yuta Kikuchi surprised everyone in October when they upset Mississippi State’s Nuno Borges and Strahinja Rakic, the best doubles team in the country.
Seven months later, however, Borges and Rakic got their revenge, knocking the Cal duo out of the NCAA Doubles Championships in the second round. Brumm and Kikuchi failed to take home what would have been the team’s first doubles title since 1991.
“They’re both young guys, and they have a lot to work on in their games. But the key is that they improved tremendously this year, and they’ve got a lot of room to grow,” said men’s tennis director Peter Wright. “I’m excited about the rate of their improvement, how much they did this year and how much they can do in the future.”
No. 28 Brumm and Kikuchi faced Bryant’s No. 76 Matt Kuhar and Wilson Dong in the first round of the tournament. The Bulldogs played well, but Brumm and Kikuchi were able to win the first set, 6-4, and clinch the victory, 7-5, after a close second set.
In the second round with 16 teams remaining, the rematch against Borges and Rakic proved too much to handle. Unfortunately for Cal, the Mississippi State duo dominated, running through the Bears to a 6-1, 6-2 victory in two quick sets.
“Jacob and Yuta — it’s been a great year for them, a new doubles team, and for them to qualify for the NCAA championships and win a round, I think that’s an outstanding performance for a freshman and a sophomore,” Wright said. “These guys are just outstanding singles and doubles players.”
Kikuchi was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for his stellar accomplishments throughout the season. In addition to his doubles performances with Brumm, he spent much of the year leading the team at first singles.
“I didn’t expect to much in my first year; I just wanted to know everything about college tennis. I knew I could play really well this season and play against top-10 players,” Kikuchi said.
Two more years of high-level tennis from Brumm and Kikuchi means that there are championships and individual accolades for the taking. As a freshman and a sophomore, they’ll have plenty of time and room for improvement.
Trilok Reddy covers men’s tennis. Contact him at
A previous version of this article misspelled Nuno Borges’ name.