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Women’s tennis resumes conference play with wins over Washington schools

UCLA women’s tennis junior Abbey Forbes bends down to hit the ball during a match. Forbes won all of her completed matches against Washington and Washington State in the Bruins’ wins against Pac-12 opponents over the weekend. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin staff)

Women's tennis

No. 15 UCLA4
No. 24 Washington1
No. 15 UCLA6
Washington State1

By Sam Lieberman

April 4, 2022 5:09 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article's headline incorrectly stated that UCLA women's tennis played these matches on the road. In fact, these were home matches.

This post was updated April 5 at 3:25 p.m.

Following a 2 1/2 week pause because of COVID-19, the Bruins extended their win streak to eight.

No. 15 UCLA women’s tennis (10-3, 6-0 Pac-12) hosted two Pac-12 foes from the Evergreen State at the Los Angeles Tennis Center over the weekend, earning a 4-1 win over No. 24 Washington (13-7, 4-3) on Friday before defeating Washington State (6-12, 1-6) by a score of 6-1 on Saturday. With the two wins, the Bruins have won 20 straight Pac-12 regular-season matchups.

UCLA snagged the doubles point against Washington courtesy of wins by senior Elysia Bolton and freshman Elise Wagle, the No. 41 pair, and junior Sasha Vagramov and freshman Kimmi Hance.

After doubles play, No. 47 junior Abbey Forbes and sophomore Vanessa Ong took care of business by winning their singles matches in straight sets. Wagle completed a third-set comeback by breaking Washington’s Yolanda Lin in three straight service games to win the match 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.

The Bruins’ win avenged a 4-3 loss to the Huskies from a nonconference matchup on Jan. 29 earlier in the season.

“(Associate head coach Rance Brown) said no one beats us in our house twice, and we definitely took that to heart,” Hance said. “We definitely came out right in the doubles and set the tone for the match.”

The lone point for Washington was from Sarah-Maude Fortin, who beat No. 67 Bolton in straight sets 6-4, 6-3. Bolton appeared to tweak her shoulder during the match and saw treatment from medical staff.

The senior won her doubles match versus Washington State the following day but did not compete in a singles match Saturday.

Opening up the Bruins’ contest against the Cougars, the No. 33 pair of Forbes and freshman Ava Catanzarite claimed a 6-3 victory to clinch the doubles point for UCLA. In singles play, five of six Bruins won their matches in straight sets.

Coach Stella Sampras Webster said she was encouraged by the Bruins’ two wins over the weekend.

“It just shows how much I think our team has improved and (is) gelling together,” Sampras Webster said. “We’re in a good place right now.”

UCLA’s matches over the weekend marked a return to play after nearly three weeks off from competition because of COVID-19 protocols within the program. Forbes said she was thankful to be able to return to the courts after the hiatus.

“I’m just really grateful that all my teammates are here, that we’re alive and breathing, because I know how hard COVID can affect some people,” Forbes said. “I’m just really fortunate that my at-home workouts – the little things that I could do in my room with just a yoga mat and a little bit of space – helped me at least keep my spirits up and stay active.”

Forbes won all of her completed matches over the weekend, including picking up a win over Washington State’s No. 91 Michaela Bayerlova.

UCLA has now won 20 of its last 21 matches versus Washington State and notched its first win over Washington since its 21-game win streak against the Huskies was broken earlier this year.

“We’re gritty – we needed vengeance on Washington,” Forbes said. “We had a little burning desire inside of us like we wanted to win.”

The blue and gold will return to action twice this week when it hosts No. 5 Pepperdine on Wednesday and Oregon on Friday.

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Sam Lieberman
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