Friends since age 9, and now doubles partners.
No. 23 UCLA women’s tennis’ duo of No. 73 redshirt sophomore Jada Hart and junior Gabby Andrews teamed up for the first time in San Diego to win the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southwest Regional Championships without dropping a single set.
“The tennis community is actually quite small,” Andrews said.
Andrews and Hart met very early on in their tennis careers at a practice and saw each other at numerous tournaments thereafter.
“We quickly felt comfortable with each other and our capability at the net,” Hard said.
Both have had Grand Slam success in their doubles career. Hart captured the 2016 US Open Girls’ Doubles title with fellow Bruin sophomore Ena Shibahara. Andrews won the same title four years earlier, along with the Australian Open Girls’ Doubles title in 2012.
Hart and No. 1 Shibahara were ranked No. 4 in the preseason doubles rankings. Andrews and junior Ayan Broomfield were ranked No. 20 in the rankings although Broomfield was not part of the team last year.
Hart was part of the Bruins’ two most successful doubles combinations in 2016. Last year, she went 9-3 on court one in dual matches with senior Terri Fleming and 7-1 on court one with Shibahara.
Andrews was tried in multiple lineups with Fleming, senior Kristin Wiley and junior Alaina Miller. She accumulated a 7-2 record with Miller, her most frequent partner.
Coach Stella Sampras Webster is interested to see how this partnership will progress.
“We have decided to (put) them together at (ITA National Fall Championships) and it’ll be interesting to see how they do there,” Sampras Webster said. “They got better throughout the tournament.”
Hart played her first all-Bruin match in the semifinals against the doubles pair of freshman Abi Atlick and Miller. Hart and Andrews breezed past them with a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
“It’s relaxing knowing you have your teammates on the other side,” Miller said. “You obviously want to win but there’s no hard feelings afterward.”
Andrews was excited to secure two wins against USC.
They beat USC’s Angela Kulikov and Becca Weissmann 8-1 in the round of 16 and the pair of Gabby Smith and Madison Westby 8-5 in the quarterfinals.
“It felt great to get a couple of wins against our rivals,” Andrews said.