Kelley L Cox / KLC fotos
Monday’s result completed Yuta Kikuchi’s long tenure as a Golden Bear.
ORLANDO, Fla. – The longest tenured member of the California men’s tennis team, Yuta Kikuchi ended his long college career with a loss to TCU’s Jake Fearnley in the opening round of 64 in the NCAA Singles Championship on Monday at the USTA National Campus. Kikuchi, ranked 27th, fell to the 21st-ranked Fearnley, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4.
“He’s a good player,” Kikuchi said. “I had some momentum, he had some momentum and I finally lost. But I fought hard and gave it my best. Every member of the team was cheering me on – they watched online – and I got so many messages in the group chat. That was very emotional for me.”
The Yahaba, Japan, product – who graduated with an undergraduate degree in political economy in 2022 – completed his graduate certificate in entrepreneurship this month and will move on to the professional tennis ranks after five years in Berkeley.
“To have a guy of that quality not just in tennis but with his character and his values – the whole package – is amazing for any coach,” said Kris Kwinta, Cal’s Peter Wright Director of Men’s Tennis. “For Cal to have him for five years and stick with us, it’s just been a privilege to coach him and battle alongside him. He put Cal on his back many times and won huge matches for us along the way. He represented us with class and a smile.”
Kikuchi began his tenure with the Golden Bears in the 2018-19 season, when he competed in the NCAA Doubles Championship and was named the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year and the ITA Northwest Region Rookie of the Year. Cal also reached the round of 16 of the 2019 NCAA team tournament. Last season, Kikuchi led the Bears to the second round of the NCAA Championship and played in his second postseason doubles tournament.
Along the way, Kikuchi collected three All-Pac-12 honors, including a spot on the first team this year, when he won his first professional singles title and clinched three Cal victories. One of those Cal wins was one of his favorite memories of playing for the Bears.
“I have two favorite memories at Cal,” Kikuchi said. “The Stanford match in January, when we beat Stanford for the first time in six years, and everybody…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at California Golden Bears Athletics…