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UCLA women’s tennis falls to California in Pac-12 tournament final

Graduate student Jada Hart won her doubles match 6-2 and was leading in her singles match 6-7, 6-3, 4-3, but it wasn’t enough as No. 1 seed UCLA fell to No. 3 seed California in the championship game. (Antonio Martinez/Daily Bruin)

Women’s tennis

No. 3 seed California4
No. 1 seed UCLA2
No. 4 seed Arizona State2
No. 1 seed UCLA4
No. 8 seed Washington State0
No. 1 seed UCLA4

By Olivia Simons

April 26, 2021 8:22 p.m.

This post was updated April 26 at 10:15 p.m.

While the Bruins advanced to the final round of the Pac-12 tournament, they will have to wait at least another year before they can call themselves conference tournament champions.

Following victories in the quarterfinal and semifinal, No. 1 seed UCLA (19-4, 10-0) fell to No. 3 seed California (17-6, 7-3) 4-2, losing its chance at claiming the championship title for the first time since the new tournament format was implemented in 2017. The Bruins claimed victories against No. 8 seed Washington State (14-16, 4-6) and No. 4 seed Arizona State (14-8, 6-3) by scores of 4-0 and 4-2, respectively.

To start off the championship match, sophomore Abbey Forbes and graduate student Jada Hart took a 6-2 doubles win over Cal’s Haley Giavara and Valentina Ivanov. Junior Elysia Bolton and senior Abi Altick – playing only their fifth career doubles match together and third this season – clinched a 7-5 win against Jada Bui and Erin Richardson.

After going up 3-0 early, No. 8 Forbes lost her second singles match of the season to No. 62 Haley Giavara 6-4, 6-2, to tie up the match score at one point apiece. Senior Annette Goulak then dropped her match 6-0, 6-3 to Anna Bright, handing California a 2-1 lead.

“(Bright) played really well,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “She did really well against Stanford yesterday and really dominated today against (Goulak). I think Haley, their number one player, played really well against Abbey, and Abbey just didn’t play her best but Haley played really well. In certain spots they had some players that really stepped up.”

Senior Vivian Wolff outlasted Bui 6-3, 6-2, bringing her to double digits in the singles win column this season and tying up the score for the Bruins. Sophomore Sasha Vagramov, however, suffered a 6-2, 6-3 loss, giving Cal a 3-2 advantage.

Hart, who dropped her first set 7-6, managed to force a third set after a 6-3 second set victory. Bolton prevailed in her first set, but conceded the second. The Bruins needed third-set victories from both players to take the win, with California needing only one. 

Bolton failed to deliver for the Bruins, and Julia Rosenqvist clinched a 6-1 third-set win over the junior to hand California the Pac-12 championship.

“(California) felt like they had nothing to lose, especially them being the lower seed in the tournament and us winning the regular-season title already,” Hart said. “After the doubles point they came out pretty loose and just started playing freely. They took advantage and ended up playing great tennis on some of the courts, and unfortunately it wasn’t our best day as a team and they took advantage of it.”

With a bye in the first round as the No. 1 seed, the Bruins entered the tournament in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, defeating No. 8 seed Washington State 4-0. 

Goulak and Wolff took the first doubles win against the Cougars on court two with a 6-0 sweep, and Bolton and freshman Vanessa Ong, who had not played a collegiate doubles match together before Saturday, clinched the doubles point for UCLA with a 6-4 victory.

Vagramov earned the first singles point for the Bruins, winning in straight sets, both by a score of 6-2. Following Vagramov was Wolff, who, after fighting her way through a 6-4 match, secured a win in the second set 6-0. Bolton clinched the victory for the Bruins, mimicking Vagramov’s 6-2, 6-2 score to advance UCLA to the semifinals.

While the Bruins also secured the doubles point with two consecutive wins against No. 4 seed Arizona State on Sunday, singles play was more competitive than it was against the Cougars. Only four Bruins secured first-set victories against the Sun Devils, and two sets were played to seven points.

“I think we played really well in doubles, and winning that doubles point was always really important for us,” Sampras Webster said. “Last time we played Arizona State we won 4-3 – they really took us to the end – and same thing here. Arizona State singles players were really competitive and fighting really hard and made it really tough for us. We came out ahead but it was not easy.”

Goulak earned the first singles point for UCLA, winning 6-3, 6-1 and bringing the score to 2-0. Lauryn John-Baptiste edged out Bolton in a 6-2, 6-2 victory, giving Arizona State its first point of the match, followed by a court four victory against Vagramov 6-2, 6-4, to tie the score. 

Forbes, after eking out a 7(7)-6(5) first-set victory, claimed a 6-2 second-set win to retake the lead for the Bruins. Wolff then clinched the victory for UCLA, with a 6-2, 7(8)-6(6) win. 

While the Bruins fell to California in the final match, Wolff managed to earn victories in all three of her singles matches through the tournament and said she was glad to be able to clinch the semifinals win against Arizona State. 

“It was an incredible feeling,” Wolff said. “It’s pretty indescribable and I’m so glad I was able to do it. I stayed focused on my court and I’m so glad it worked out.”

The Bruins will next compete in the NCAA tournament to close out the season, with the selection show beginning May 3 at 6 p.m.

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Olivia Simons | Managing editor
Simons is the 2022-2023 managing editor. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
Simons is the 2022-2023 managing editor. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's tennis, men's tennis, swim and dive and rowing beats and a reporter on the baseball and women's tennis beats.
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