With the regular season now in the rearview, Cal men’s tennis No. 1 doubles pair, Yuta Kikuchi and Carl Emil Overbeck, heads up to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship.
The Bears managed to finish their season schedule 11-10, which can partly be attributed to the success achieved by Kikuchi and Overbeck. The two were consistently slotted in Cal’s No. 1 doubles slot for dual-match play.
“They communicate well on the court,” said Cal head coach Kris Kwinta. “They complement each other quite well, and when they find the balance between having fun and being aggressive, that’s when they play their best.”
The 28th-ranked blue and gold duo is appearing together for the first time in the postseason. Kikuchi made a postseason appearance as a freshman in 2019 in the doubles tournament, but it is worth noting that this is Overbeck’s first ever postseason appearance.
Kikuchi and Overbeck together went 16-9 over the regular season in doubles with a 12-match win streak at one point in the season. This included a victory over USC in doubles during the Battle in the Bay Tournament, which according to Kwinta, was arguably the crowning achievement for the two this season.
With the Round of 32 scheduled for this week, the Cal duo will be facing off against Francisco Rocha and Oskar Brostrom Poulsen from Middle Tennessee State in the first round. If they win, the pair will face the representative doubles group from either VCU or TCU, which is the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
“The key for them is to have fun and to play inspired, aggressive tennis, not being afraid to go for their shots,” Kwinta said.
Ethan Preston covers men’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].