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UCLA women’s tennis swept in back-to-back matches for first time this century

Junior Kimmi Hance hits a forehand. (Julia Zhou/Assistant Photo editor)

Women's Tennis


No. 13 UCLA0
No. 17 Duke4
No. 13 UCLA0
No. 12 Ohio State4

By Olivia Simons

Feb. 5, 2024 3:17 p.m.

The Bruins had never been swept in back-to-back matches dating back to at least 1986, when records were first tracked.

On Sunday, however, history was made.

No. 13 UCLA women’s tennis (2-3) fell to both No. 17 Duke (6-2) and No. 12 Ohio State (5-1) by a score of 4-0 over the weekend, marking the first sweeps of the season for the Bruins and the first back-to-back sweeps in at least three and a half decades. Both matches took place at the Ty Tucker Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio – an indoor stadium that put UCLA on neutral ground for its Saturday loss to Duke and enemy territory against Ohio State on Sunday.

Junior Kimmi Hance said despite the outcome of the matches, the final result didn’t actually reflect what happened over the weekend.

“No one lost 6-0, 6-0, and every match was competitive,” Hance said. “Definitely playing at someone else’s home, on indoor courts, those are factors that you have to consider. We definitely were at a little bit of a disadvantage, but I think everyone handled themselves very well.”

Duke claimed the first and last match win of the day Saturday with a 6-3 court two victory over Hance and redshirt senior Sasha Vagramov in doubles. While sophomore Tian Fangran and junior Elise Wagle earned a 6-4 victory over their Blue Devil opponents, theirs was the only victory the Bruins earned for the rest of the matches.

Singles play began with a pair of two-set victories for Duke, with higher-ranked opponents taking down two Bruin freshmen in Ahmani Guichard and Bianca Fernandez. Hance managed to force a third set, but ultimately fell to No. 65 Shavit Kimchi 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on that very same court, sealing the win for the Blue Devils.

While neutral ground meant a lack of fans for UCLA’s match against Duke, Sunday’s match against Ohio State signaled a bigger audience and less familiarity with the courts. Nonetheless, the Bruins kicked the day off with a win, as Guichard and sophomore Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer dropped just one game against the Buckeyes’ Madeline Atway and Shelly Bereznyak for a 6-1 victory on court three.

“Ahmani and I just had really great energy and chemistry together,” Lutkemeyer said. “We just went out swinging, super aggressive and played the match on our terms, so I think that rewarded us with the win today.”

Fernandez fell first in singles play with a 6-2, 6-2 decision to No. 85 Luciana Perry. A double fault from the freshman handed Ohio State its second match point of the contest.

Four Bruins lost their first set in singles to the Blue Devils, leaving just Hance and Lutkemeyer with a chance for a sweep. However, following Fernandez’ loss, Lutkemeyer couldn’t overcome an insurmountable second-set deficit, eventually falling to Audrey Spencer in a tie breaking set.

Hance continued to go back and forth with opponent Sydni Ratliff in their second set, losing the first game on a double fault but coming back to tie the score. While Hance held 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 advantages, she was unable to bring more than two games between her and Ratliff, eventually leaving the match unfinished at 5-5.

“I played Sydni … a couple times in juniors and we go back and forth every time,” Hance said. “We’re a good matchup. It was tough to play her at her home courts because it always has a great crowd, but I think I did a really good job just competing today.”

While Hance fought her way toward a potential victory, both Tian on court one and Wagle on court four fell in two sets, sealing the win for the Buckeyes.

Coach Stella Sampras Webster said while the weekend did not go the Bruins’ way, she hopes to use this as a lesson to make progress in the season.

“It’s a tough weekend for us, but we’re going to get better,” Sampras Webster said. “I’d rather have this happening now and be able to move forward and then improve, and see how our team is going to improve and how they’re going to respond to this.”

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Olivia Simons | Quad editor
Simons is the 2023-2024 Quad editor. She was previously the 2022-2023 managing editor, 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. She is also a fourth-year student from Oakland, California.
Simons is the 2023-2024 Quad editor. She was previously the 2022-2023 managing editor, 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. She is also a fourth-year student from Oakland, California.
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