A dual tennis match is a highly temporal affair. The fact that the matches take place in parallel, rather than sequentially, is too often forgotten, and the timing of the match is too often overlooked. Although a match is considered a singular event, it is often set in the context of which other matches are occurring.
So, although the Cal women’s tennis team obliterated visiting San Diego State, 6-1, the match had a moment, albeit brief, where the outcome was up in the air.
The Aztecs’ (2-2) third court doubles squad had taken a 4-3 lead on Alice Duranteau and Cecilia Estlander; if the lead held, it would be Cal’s first doubles loss of the year.
Meanwhile, Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting, the Bears’ top doubles partnership, had lost two straight games to Roxanne and Sierra Ellison. The twins were on game point after a back-and-forth game, and it seemed as if the home crowd at the Hellman Tennis Complex was, for the first time this season, palpably nervous.
However, unforced errors spelled the Ellison’s demise, and Cal (4-0) turned the match around, not only winning all three doubles match handily, but also taking six of the seven singles matches; all six wins were in straight sets.
The two games that Goransson and Schutting lost would prove to be their only two, as their 8-2 doubles victory improved their record on the year to 12-1.
“I think they have really great chemistry, and they communicate well,” coach Amanda Augustus said. “They are both starting to grow as doubles players, and they feel more comfortable using different parts of their games.”
According to Augustus, the duo’s doubles performance translates into success in their singles game. Both Goransson and Schutting had 6-1, 6-0 triumphs in singles matches, and both have four wins with nary a loss in the duals season.
“I’ve been trying to play more aggressively,” Goransson said. “I’ve been looking at the big picture more – we are trying to be a good team early in the season.”
Freshman Zsofi Susanyi picked up her first win in the top singles court, beating Julia Wais, 6-2, 6-2. Towards the end of the match, Wais became visibly frustrated with Susanyi’s line calls, at one point exclaiming, “Of course it’s out, right?” (What she said in her native tongue of German may have been even more vitriolic.)
Susanyi was filling in for No. 5 Jana Juricova, who was held out of her second straight singles match with lingering effects of a bruised wrist. However, Juricova earned a doubles victory with Susanyi, bringing the team’s record to 6-1 overall.
The victory is the Bears’ final match before travelling to Charlottesville, Va., for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Cal’s status as a heavy favorite over San Diego State allowed the team’s coaches to try to focus on tactics that may come in handy at the first major tournament of the calendar year.
“Their team goal today was to win points at the net,” coach Augustus said. “Transitioning to indoors, we are going to work this next week on aggressive but shorter points.”