April 4, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. - Playing without three of its top players, the sixth-ranked UCLA men's tennis team couldn't hold off No. 4 Cal, falling 5-2 Friday in a non-conference match at the Hellman Tennis Courts. With the loss, the Bruins fall to 16-2 overall (3-0 Pac-10), while Cal improves to 15-2 (2-0 Pac-10). The conference showdown between these teams will not take place until Cal visits UCLA on Apr. 19.
With several key players not available, UCLA was forced to shuffle its lineup in both singles and doubles play. For only the second time this year, UCLA dropped the doubles point, falling on all three courts.
In singles play, Cal actually took a 3-0 lead following victories at court Nos. 2 and 5. On court No. 2, Cal's Conor Niland upset Erfan Djahangiri, 6-1, 6-3. At the No. 5 position, Steve Berke downed Bruin sophomore Alberto Francis, 6-2, 6-3.
Next to finish was UCLA's top player Tobias Clemens, who put the Bruins on the board with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over John Paul Fruttero at No. 1 singles. However, Cal then clinched the match at No. 6 singles, where Robert Kowalczyk downed Bruin freshman Aaron Yovan, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
With the match already decided, the Bruins and Bears split the final two contests. On court No. 4, Or Dekel defeated UCLA's Lassi Ketola, 7-6(5), 6-1. At No. 2 singles, UCLA's Chris Lam came from behind to knock off Balazs Veress, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
UCLA played Friday's match without the services of Marcin Matkowski, Jean-Julien Rojer and Rodrigo Grilli. Both Matkowski and Rojer are off playing Davis Cup for their respective countries, while Grilli sat out with an injury.
The weekend doesn't get any easier for UCLA, as the Bruins are scheduled to face No. 7 Stanford tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.