Men's Tennis Roars Back to Rout Utah

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Yesterday, the Cal men's tennis team managed to do something it hadn't done in its previous two matches.

The Bears dominated singles play.

After an unspectacular beginning in doubles action, Cal rebounded to take five of six singles matches for a 5-2 victory over Utah at Hellman Tennis Center.

The win means the Bears (11-6, 3-5 in the Pac-10) have all but clinched an NCAA postseason berth, according to Cal coach Peter Wright.

"We're in (the NCAAs)," Wright said. "It's all a matter of our seeding now."

In losing consecutive matches to USC and UCLA over the weekend, the team's singles play lagged well behind its doubles play. Doubles have been the Bears' strength all season, so how Cal started play yesterday was surprising.

The Utes (8-12, 2-3 in the Mountain West) managed to turn the tide on the Bears by beating Cal at its strength, taking two of three doubles matches. The only victory for the Bears came from the duo of Scott Kintz and Erik Dmytruk.

"They came out and blitzed us in the doubles," Wright said.

The lackluster start resulted in Cal being down, 1-0, and set the stage for the Bears to turn things around in singles play.

"We were sleepwalking at the start," Wright said. "(But) we played really well in singles."

Cal woke up in time to hand Utah its second loss in a row on its current West Coast road trip.

To get things rolling, Dmytruk made short work of David Mercier, 6-3, 6-0. John Paul Fruttero did the same with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ashley Dyer.

Also playing big for the Bears was Andrey Vinogradsky, who stepped in for an injured Hiro Nakamura to win, 6-3, 6-3, over Kevin Zenger.

Nakamura sat out the match with a hip flexor injury, and is questionable for this weekend's matches against Arizona and Arizona State.

Cal's final two wins came when Robert Kowalczyk and Kintz - both of whom had lost the first set of their matches - came back to take the final two sets.

The victories by Kowalczyk, Kintz and Vinogradsky demonstrated the Bears' superior depth, as they came on the No. 4-6 courts.

Cal will have to build on this trend of dominating opposing team's lower-tier players to continue its winning ways down the stretch.

"In our singles, we need to take (courts) four, five and six," Kintz said. "We usually have the better players on those courts. It's all a matter of going out and getting W's."

The Bears' only loss came when Adrian Barnes lost, 6-4, 6-3, to Trevor Ferguson. It was Barnes' first loss since coming back from shoulder surgery last week. He had won his previous two outings.

Despite the fact that his star did not play at the top of his game, Wright believes Barnes will be back in form shortly.

With a trip to the Arizona schools looming this weekend, yesterday's victory is of great importance. Cal defeated ASU and Arizona earlier this year, 4-3 and 5-2, respectively.

"We didn't play well against Sac(ramento) State (last week)," Kintz said. "You don't want to go down to Arizona on a losing note."

To improve its seeding in the NCAA Championships, Cal will have to win on the road. After this weekend, the Bears will play their final home match against Pepperdine, before finishing out the season at UCLA and USC.


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