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No. 6 UCLA squeaked past No. 28 Pepperdine with a 4-3 victory in Malibu, and though the score suggests a nail-biter, the match was decided before the Waves could get on the board.
Still, the Waves (11-7) gave the Bruins (17-5, 6-1 Pac-10) exactly what they expected: a hard-fought contest that saw three Bruins upset in singles play.
“(Pepperdine) made us compete and play hard,” coach Stella Sampras Webster said.
“They pushed us quite a bit. Pepperdine was very feisty and they used their homecourt crowd very well.”
The certainty of the outcome was originally cast in doubt when Pepperdine’s No. 2 doubles team of freshman Ale Granillo and redshirt junior Khunpak Issara upset UCLA’s team of junior McCall Jones and senior Noelle Hickey 8-4.
However, the Bruins eventually won the doubles point, but it took an 8-6 win on court No. 1 by freshman Courtney Dolehide and senior Andrea Remynse to do it.
“The doubles point was really big today,” Jones said. “It kind of shut (Pepperdine) down a little bit because they weren’t so excited. They were a little bit more down before singles than they would have been had they won the doubles point.”
Singles play got off to a considerably better start for UCLA, which handed the Waves three quick straight-set defeats to build up an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
Junior Carling Seguso improved her spotless singles record for the season to 13-0 by outplaying freshman Megan Moore 6-2, 6-4 on court No. 6, and senior Maya Johansson recorded a 6-3, 6-0 victory over sophomore Marie Zalameda at the No. 5 spot.
Jones clinched the match for the Bruins at the top spot with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over sophomore Arianna Colffer.
Jones is looking to rediscover her winning touch after dropping four of her last six singles matches at the No. 1 position.
“I’m starting to get my confidence back now,” Jones said. “It felt good to clinch the match for the team. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve let the team down in the past by losing at that position.”
The match took a turn for the worse from then on for the Bruins.
Pepperdine senior Anamika Bhargava toppled Hickey 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) on court No. 2 and Issara came back from a first-set deficit to upset sophomore Pamela Montez 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 4 position.
Granillo rounded things out with a topsy-turvy 6-4, 1-6 (10-7) upset win over Remynse on court No. 3, but it was not enough for the Waves.
Next up for the Bruins is a showdown with No. 14 USC (14-6, 4-3) at the Marks Tennis Stadium, in what is both teams’ final regular-season match.
The Bruins will attempt to sweep the Trojans for the second straight year, having already posted a convincing 5-2 win over their crosstown rivals at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on March 2.
“We try to go about it like it’s any other match,” Sampras Webster said. “But it is our last match, and we want to finish strong against our rival.”
Compiled by Daniel Khayat, Bruin Sports reporter.