Despite lacking a full lineup, Cal women’s tennis team capitalized on depth and strong doubles play to capture two wins at home in the nascent dual season. No. 7 Cal was without top player Jana Juricova for Saturday’s match, yet still defeated Washington, 5-2, in the final of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, a day after winning without No. 21 Zsofi Susanyi.
Juricova slipped and bruised her wrist in a singles match Friday at Hellman Tennis Complex, in the midst of a 6-1 Cal semifinal victory over UNLV (3-2). Keeping her out of the lineup was deemed a precautionary measure by coach Amanda Augustus, as the fifth-ranked player in the country is expected to play Wednesday against San Diego State.
Susanyi played in her inaugural dual match Saturday after missing the previous two contests for NCAA eligibility issues. The freshman was faced with the daunting challenge of playing No. 10 Denise Dy, whose roots in San Jose produced a divided crowd on a sun-soaked day.
Susanyi played competitive points, and even strung together a three-game winning streak, yet fell to Dy, 6-1, 6-4. Although occasionally leaving Dy motionless with rapid cross-court retorts, Susanyi was continually pushed out of position by the two-time All-American.
Although Cal (3-0) has no ranked doubles pairings, opponents would likely beg to differ on the group’s talent after an impressive weekend. Junior Tayler Davis and sophomore Alice Duranteau held down the Bears’ third doubles court with ease, dropping only one game over two blowout wins. In the final game of an 8-0 victory against Washington (1-1), Duranteau hit an overhead smash with such force that it became ensnared in a tree yards from the court after bouncing on the Huskies’ side.
“In doubles, we have two roles: someone sets up the point and the other person finishes the point,” Augustus said. “(Tayler and Alice) actually can go between those roles. I think that, combined with their chemistry, gives them that x-factor that you need.”
Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting continued their successful partnership in a tidy 8-1 victory on Saturday to give the Bears the doubles point. Both Goransson and Schutting also went 2-0 in singles in the tournament.
“It was a little bit of a tough ask for Sofie,” Augustus said. “But all things considered, it was a good start.”
Due to the absences of Susanyi and Juricova on Friday and Saturday, respectively, Davis was elevated to the second singles court. On Friday, Davis’s play was rocky and was rife with unforced errors, as she fell to Lucia Batta in two sets, giving the Runnin’ Rebels their only point. Saturday, Davis was composed, and won the first 11 games of her match against Samantha Smith in a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
“The only part that stayed with me (of Friday’s match) was that I didn’t want to feel that way again,” Davis said.
The wins guarantee Cal a spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in mid-February, when the newfound top-to-bottom strength will be put to the test.