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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tennis heads to Pac-10 tourney

    Men’s Alcala seeks revenge on Cal foe


    Leading up to today’s Pacific 10 Conference Championships, junior Bruno Alcala had one thing on his mind: revenge.

    Earlier this season, Alcala lost to California’s Eoin Heavey in three sets, 6-4. Alcala will get his chance to redeem himself as the two will face off today in Ojai, Cali., in the first round of this year’s tournament.

    “”I lost to (Heavey) last year; and this year was an exciting match. So it should be a good one,”” Alcala said of the rematch. “”I just want to try and get some revenge.””

    Alcala is one of two members of the Arizona men’s tennis team returning to the championships this year, along with sophomore Peter Zimmer.

    While it may not be the NCAA Championships, Alcala said this tournament has always been one of his favorites.

    “”I love it,”” he said. “”It’s a really nice facility and usually there’s lots of people who come watch.

    “”I also like the courts. They are pretty slow so it fits my game better.””

    Taking part in his first Pac-10 tournament is freshman Ravid Hezi. Throughout the year, Hezi moved around between the third and fourth singles positions.

    Because the tournament has no team implications, Hezi said he is looking forward to not worrying about picking up the team point.

    “”It’s different because you play for yourself more than you play for the team,”” Hezi said. “”When you play for the team there are advantages; but there is more pressure when you play for other people.

    “”It’s fun to play just individually.””

    In addition to playing singles, Hezi will also be teaming with Alcala and competing in the doubles draw. Hezi and Alcala have come on strong lately, beating doubles teams in Washington and ASU over the past two weeks.

    “”We’ve got some momentum with two wins in a row,”” Hezi said. “”And I think me and Bruno have a good chance to do something good in doubles.””

    Joining Hezi, Alcala and Zimmer in Ojai will be freshman Milos Romic and juniors Jason Labrosse and Francois VanderMerwe.

    The tournament restriction will not allow for all of the players to be in the 32-player field. The two who will not be playing are freshman Alex Labrosse and senior Claudio Christen.

    Because of Arizona’s 5-17 finish this season, today’s tournament will be the team’s last matches of the season.

    Hopes for making the NCAA Tournament were lost long ago as the team ended the season on an 11-match losing streak. But Alcala said the Pac-10 tournament can serve as a consolation “”We didn’t have a good season,”” he said. “”But this is still a good chance to play good players and prove ourselves individually and in doubles.””

    Steinberg has good shot to go deep in bracket in first tournament appearance


    Last season, an elbow injury kept Arizona’s No. 1 player out of the Pacific 10 Conference Championships. This year, however, the sophomore is determined to make up for lost time.

    “”I didn’t get to play (in the tournament) last season so I don’t really know what it is,”” Danielle Steinberg said. “”However, I’ve heard it’s a really nice tournament in a nice place so I’m excited.””

    The tournament, which features a 32-player singles and 16-team doubles draw, starts today in Ojai, Calif., and will continue through Sunday.

    While Steinberg is excited to simply experience the tournament, UA assistant coach Brian Ramirez said he feels Steinberg has a good shot at going deep in the bracket.

    “”If she continues to play the way she’s been playing, I think her chances to move through the draw are pretty good,”” he said. “”It’s a very difficult event, but I like her chances to execute her game plan against the other girls.””

    In addition to winning her last four matches against conference rivals, Steinberg also knocked off two of the Pac-10’s top players, including No. 10 Lindsey Nelson of USC. The two wins earned Steinberg Pac-10 Player of the Week honors and bumped her up to No. 40 on the FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings.

    Steinberg said the wins “”definitely give me more confidence.””

    “”Unless I get the number one seed in the first round or something like that – I mean, I don’t want to jinx myself – but I think should do well,”” she said.

    “”I haven’t seen the draw yet, but I think my chances are pretty good. I’ve been playing pretty well lately and had good results in the Pac-10.””

    Gaining confidence and momentum for the NCAA Tournament is something Steinberg and the rest of the participating players are focused on. While the official list of participants will not be released until after the Pac-10 Tournament, Ramirez said he is pretty confident Arizona will get a bid.

    “”We put our best foot forward beating Oregon, who was ranked ahead of us, and getting ourselves into that sixth position in the Pac-10. So we’ll have to see what happens,”” he said.

    If the team were to make the NCAA Tournament, a good performance in Ojai would surely go a long way in its preparations. But due to tournament restrictions, only four members of the team will be able to play.

    Along with Steinberg will be junior Juliette Mavroleon and freshmen Katie Orletsky and Natalia Toporowska.

    While the Pac-10 Tournament does not have the team aspect like the NCAA Tournament, it will still give the team more playing experience.

    “”It should (help us prepare),”” Toporowska said. “”I mean it’s not exactly a team event, but we still get more matches.””

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