Tuesday, January 21

Women’s tennis sees Sweet 16 success with takedown of Ole Miss

Ena Shibahara took home her doubles match over Ole Miss with junior Alaina Miller on court three. In singles, the sophomore played in her first top-10 matchup of the season on court one and it went unfinished in the third set. (Ken Shin/Daily Bruin staff)

Same team, but very different result.

No. 12-seeded UCLA women’s tennis (23-5, 9-1 Pac-12) defeated No. 5-seeded Ole Miss (22-7, 9-4 SEC) 4-1 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament after losing to them 4-3 in February.

Coach Stella Sampras Webster played the exact same lineup in singles and doubles as she did in the matchup earlier in the season, apart from a switch on courts four and five in singles.

The Bruins opened the match replicating their strong doubles performance against the Rebels, leading on all three courts.

Sophomore Ena Shibahara and junior Alaina Miller gave the Bruins a 6-4 win on court three over the Rebels’ Natalie Suk and Anna Vrbenska. It was the pair’s 17th consecutive doubles win.

Shortly thereafter, juniors Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield clinched the doubles point with a matching scoreline.

The Bruins carried the momentum from its doubles victory to take five of the six first sets in singles against the Rebels. Half of the first sets went to a tiebreaker with UCLA coming out on top in two of them.

Broomfield picked up the second point for the Bruins with a swift 6-2, 6-0 triumph over Suk on court five.

No. 33 redshirt sophomore Jada Hart put UCLA on the cusp of the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 drubbing of No. 79 Sabina Machaolva in second singles.

All the remaining matches went to third sets. Freshman No. 67 Abi Altick was leading Vrbenska 6-3, 4-2 on court four, primed to send UCLA through, but Vrbenska fought back to win the next four games.

In her first dual match against a top-10 opponent this season, No. 9 Shibahara had a chance to win it for the Bruins in a second set tiebreaker after winning the tiebreaker in the first set but ended up losing it to No.7 Arianne Hartono.

Miller, the only Bruin to drop a first set, clawed back to win 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 to give UCLA its first quarterfinal berth since 2015.

The Bruins will next face the winner of No. 4-seeded Georgia Tech and No. 13-seeded Pepperdine’s Sweet 16 match in the quarterfinal of the NCAA tournament.


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Sports staff

D'Souza is currently a Sports staff writer for the women's basketball, men's basketball and women's tennis beats. He was previously a reporter for the men's tennis and women's volleyball beats.

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