The USF men’s tennis team geared up for a Bay Area showdown against the hosting University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears on Feb. 9 at the Hellman Tennis Complex.
The two sides last faced off in 2018 with the Golden Bears sweeping the Dons by a score of 4-0. However, the momentum for this match was in the Dons’ favor as they rode the wave of a two-game winning streak into the event.
Doubles action got underway with the familiar duo of Phuc Huynh and Mitch Johnson squaring off against the Golden Bears’ Ben Draper and Bjorn Hoffman. Huynh and Johnson put two games on the board, but they dropped the opening contest by a score of 6-2.
On Court 3, Nitzan Ricklis and Johan Garpered were locked in a battle with the team of Yuta Kikuchi and Jack Malloy. Both sides were tied at 4-4, but their match went unfinished as UC Berkeley clinched the doubles point on Court 2 with a 6-1 win over Paul Giraud and Ori Maior, putting the hosts up by a score of 1-0.
The singles portion of the contest opened with Ricklis dropping his match against Kikuchi 6-0, 6-1. On Court 4, Johnson won two games but ultimately fell to Draper in straight sets 6-1, 6-1.
Garpered’s match served as the Dons’ final nail in the coffin as UC Berkeley’s Dominic Barretto routed Garpered by a score of 6-2, 6-1.
Three singles matches went unfinished, and history repeated itself as the Golden Bears walked away with a 4-0 sweep over the Dons. With this loss, USF falls to 3-4 in its spring campaign.
Speaking to the Dons’ official website, head coach Pablo Pires de Almeida said, “I have to give credit to Cal for playing better tennis. The Dons will learn from this match and take it into practice next week.”
Looking ahead, the Dons will return home to the California Tennis Club for a Feb. 16 match against the Boise State University Broncos. Recently, the Broncos saw their five-game winning streak snapped by the Gonzaga University Bulldogs. First serve is scheduled for noon.