It’s every team’s dream to get revenge against the opponent that ended its previous season, and No. 24 Cal men’s tennis has the opportunity to do that this Saturday as it takes on No. 2 Texas.
Last year, Cal traveled to Austin for the NCAA tournament, where it defeated then-No. 24 North Carolina State in the first round before losing to then-No. 12 Texas, 4-0.
The Bears reached this year’s Sweet 16 by defeating Drake in the first round and No. 15 Illinois in the round of 32, and they will now return to Austin for the super regionals. Texas comes into its matchup against Cal having defeated Tennessee Tech in the first round and South Florida in the second round.
The winner of the Sweet 16 matchup between the Bears and the Longhorns gets to travel to the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida, to play the final rounds of the tournament.
Texas is undoubtedly one of the top teams in the country this year, with its only losses this season coming at the hands of No. 1 Ohio State, then-No. 6 Baylor and then-No. 8 USC, teams that the Longhorns had also beaten at different points in the regular season.
Cal is trending upward with three wins in four matchups, beating No. 11 UCLA along with Drake and Illinois in the process, but this is the biggest challenge it will face all season.
The Longhorns have a whopping four singles players ranked in the top 100, including No. 7 Christian Sigsgaard and No. 12 Yuya Ito. Sigsgaard and partner Harrison Scott also form the fifth-best doubles team in the country.
To win, every player on Cal will have to step up and play their best tennis of the year. The doubles point is also a must win, since Texas has much more dominant singles. Fortunately, the Bears are led at singles by Yuta Kikuchi, who recently won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award and has upset many talented opponents throughout the year.