The Bruins will face two foes this weekend. One is their crosstown rival, the USC Trojans, the other is their own doubles play, which has frustrated them in recent weeks.
No. 3 UCLA women’s tennis will stay at home today to face No. 11 USC in a midseason tennis showdown. The match will take place today at 1:30 p.m. at the LA Tennis Center.
The Bruins will play the Trojans for the first time since UCLA defeated USC in last year’s NCAA championship on its way to a runner-up finish.
“Everyone is really excited whenever we play ’SC,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “We obviously want to play well against them and get that win against our rival.”
The match against USC will also feature some intriguing matchups in singles and doubles. USC features the No. 1 doubles pairing in the nation comprised of junior Kaitlyn Christian and sophomore Sabrina Santamaria. Santamaria is also the No. 3 singles player in the nation. Sophomore Robin Anderson will play as part of the doubles team that will face Santamaria and Christian, and on her own against Santamaria in singles play.
Despite a tough series of matchups, Anderson feels prepared and unfazed by the high rankings.
“To me, rankings are not as intimidating as it may sound,” Anderson said. “Playing the No. 3 player in the nation is just another match.”
The team is still working on improving its doubles play after getting swept in doubles at California two weekends ago. Though the team won last week against Pepperdine, Sampras Webster noted their doubles play was not where she would have liked.
“We’re still trying to work out our doubles and get our doubles to feel confident and know that they go in and have the opportunity to win their matches,” Sampras Webster said. “We’re trying to get them to work a bit harder so that they feel like we’re playing a lot of grinders. We’ve got to be able to play a lot of long points.”
The players have echoed their coaches’ sentiments the past week by adding more practice time to improve and prepare for the match today against USC.
“After the match against Pepperdine, we started putting in extra time on the courts,” said senior Pamela Montez. “I think we have done what is necessary and we are excited for (today).”