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Women’s tennis takes down Washington to move on to NCAA Elite Eight

Sophomore Abi Altick won her singles match 6-2, 7-5 to help UCLA women’s tennis advance to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive year. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

By Andreas Papoutsis

May 10, 2019 7:24 pm

The Bruins are headed to the Elite Eight.

No. 7 UCLA women’s tennis (21-7, 8-2 Pac-12) recorded a 4-0 sweep against No. 10 Washington (21-5, 8-2) in the NCAA round of 16 on Friday at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins have begun the tournament with three straight sweeps.

UCLA has now faced Washington four times in all-time NCAA tournament play, tallying wins each time. The Bruins’ latest win marks their third victory over the Huskies this season.

“We knew this team and we knew what to expect,” coach Stella Sampras Webster said. “Our players have been in this situation before so they embrace this and came in very confident.”

Redshirt junior Jada Hart and freshman Elysia Bolton tallied a 6-3 doubles win to earn the 1-0 lead heading into singles play. The Bruins have not dropped a doubles point in their NCAA campaign.

“We always have to start strong with the mindset of getting the doubles point,” Hart said. “There were some moments where none of us could hold serves but I was able to finish it off in the last game.”

Senior Gabby Andrews added to the Bruins’ lead, earning a win over Washington’s Nika Zupancic in a 6-1, 6-4 straight sets win. Andrews has not dropped a single set since entering the tournament.

“She’s been the first one off (the court),” Sampras Webster said. “She’s really stepping up for us and that’s what it takes to win at this point.”

Hart recorded a straight sets win of her own, defeating Washington’s Stacy Fung 6-4, 6-2. Her victory put the Bruins up 3-0 with three matches left to play.

“This was a match I wanted revenge on, more than anything,” Hart said. “It’s huge to have one of our best performances against them and it’s great that it’s happening at this moment.”

Sophomore Abi Altick faced Washington’s Sedona Gallagher in singles play for the third time this season, and booked the Bruins’ trip to the quarterfinals by carding a 6-2, 7-5 victory.

“We just keep getting better and we’re peaking at the right time,” Altick said. “You definitely look at the scoreboard a little bit and see that you can clinch, so it’s definitely an exciting feeling and I was happy I could do it today.”

Sampras Webster said Altick’s performance showed why she refers to the sophomore as a silent warrior.

“My teammates will tell you that I’m pretty quiet when you meet me, but pretty feisty on the court,” Altick said. “It’s like two different personalities when I’m out there.”

The Bruins will now travel to Orlando, Florida, to face the winner of Oklahoma State and No. 2-seeded North Carolina. The Bruins dropped their first matchup of the season to the Tar Heels, but Sampras Webster said the team will be prepared for any opponent.

“We’re not afraid of anyone, to be honest,” Sampras Webster said. “We have three seniors that want to keep going so they believe that they can beat anyone.”

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Andreas Papoutsis | Sports reporter
Papoutsis is currently a Sports reporter on the men's tennis beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
Papoutsis is currently a Sports reporter on the men's tennis beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis beat.
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