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Women’s tennis hopes success from fall continues in upcoming Bahamas invitational

Sophomore Elysia Bolton and UCLA women’s tennis are headed to Nassau, Bahamas, to take part in the first Pink Flamingo Invitational – where opponents from Florida, Texas and Miami will face UCLA over three days. (Tanmay Shankar/Assistant Photo editor)

By Donovon Barnes

Jan. 8, 2020 11:42 p.m.

The Bruins are set for some fun in the sun to begin the new year.

No. 4 UCLA women’s tennis will send seven Bruins to Nassau, Bahamas, to compete in the inaugural Pink Flamingo Invitational from Friday through Sunday. Play will take place at the new Baha Mar resort and will feature players from UCLA, Florida, Texas and Miami.

Sophomore Elysia Bolton and her partner redshirt senior Jada Hart won the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in November. The pair won five matches in five days, never dropping a set during their run.

The duo defeated Anna Rogers and Alana Smith of North Carolina State 6-4, 6-3 in the final match. Bolton and Hart’s ranking rose to No. 2 in the country after the tournament and Bolton said she hopes to carry the momentum from fall into the new year.

“I think it’s a great confidence booster not just for (Hart) and I, but for our team because we have really solid players,” Bolton said. “Everyone has so much talent, it doesn’t matter who we put together, we’re going to have a good team.”

Freshman Abbey Forbes and junior Annette Goulak also boasted their own string of victories during the fall, with 12-2 and 10-2 singles records, respectively.

Against nationally ranked opponents, Forbes had a 6-2 record, which included a 7-6 (3), 6-2 win against Hart in the fall, in the ITA Southwest Regional Championship final round.

Freshman Sasha Vagramov – who helped the Bruins secure a doubles title at the Jack Kramer Club Collegiate Invitational – said she is excited at the opportunity to compete alongside her teammates in the Bahamas.

“I think having the team there by my side to get me motivated and prepared helps me get excited for the match,” Vagramov said. “I think the break was a good time for me to get prepared and remembering how great it was, which helps me get ready for this tournament.”

The Bruins will enter the Pink Flamingo Invitational as the No. 4-ranked team in the ITA preseason rankings. Coach Stella Sampras Webster said she hopes the momentum from a successful fall season will help spell success for the Bruins against the competition this weekend and beyond.

“We had a really good fall so we are really happy with the way the team competed and even the results that they got in the fall,” Sampras Webster said. “I hope that trend continues to improve so they can be ready to go in the start of season. I’m hoping that they stay healthy and fit to be able to compete at a high level because we’re playing teams that are very strong.”

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Donovon Barnes | Alumnus
Barnes joined the Bruin as a senior in 2019 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the women's tennis beat.
Barnes joined the Bruin as a senior in 2019 and contributed until he graduated in 2020. He spent time on the women's tennis beat.
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