The Cal women’s tennis squad was heavily favored over Oregon on Friday, so it’s no surprise that the Bears swept the Ducks in Berkeley, 7-0.
But the match provided an opportunity for Cal (12-5, 6-1) to show improvement.
The Bears’ two promising freshmen — Lynn Chi and Klara Fabikova — looked particularly impressive.
Chi and teammate Anett Schutting was challenged early in doubles by the Oregon squad (12-8, 1-7). Oregon’s duo of Nicole Long and Patricia Skowronski were able to push the Bears to an early 4-5 deficit on the top court.
It was like the duo had lost its focus — Chi and Schutting just kept making errors early on.
However, Schutting and Chi were able to come back and win the match, 7-6(2).
“They were playing from behind because they made a few unforced errors early in the match,” said Cal coach Amanda Augustus of the doubles team.
“We had to let them adjust on their own a little bit, and they did. I was happy to see them pull that match out for sure.”
Augustus found the close match to be good practice for the squad.
“I think it was good to have a little bit of a test,” Augustus said. “Coming off the high of last weekend, it would be real easy to take the opponent lightly. The girls did a really good job of carrying over, and I think they focused really well today.”
Cal entered singles with a new lineup. Fabikova, who has consistently played on court No. 3, was bumped up to court No. 2 due to her recent strong play.
“We gave her an opportunity to play on a higher court — I think she’s earned it,” Augustus said. “Just testing her a little bit, and she responded really well to the challenge.”
In recent weeks, Fabikova has dominated in singles play, winning her last seven singles matches. That streak includes tough opponents such as UCLA’s Kyle McPhillips and USC’s Zoe Scandalis.
Even on the higher court, Fabikova dominated as usual.
She defeated Skowronski in singles, 6-2, 6-1. Though Fabikova was favored in that match, Augustus emphasised the challenge Fabikova faced in Skowronski’s experience and aggressive play.
“Skowronski has played at (court) No. 1 for them a lot, and she’s just solid,” said Augustus. “She has a really good volley.”
Earlier in the day, it was Skowronski’s ability to come up to the net that pushed Schutting and Chi in doubles. This did not prove to be a problem for Fabikova.
Fabikova’s move to the second court meant that Cal’s other promising freshman — Chi — was moved down to court No. 3. Essentially, the two players switched places.
For Augustus, Fabikova’s success proves that Cal has two talented freshmen that can each play at a high level.
“Obviously, when Lynn is doing great too, it’s a nice problem to have,” Augustus said.
“You can put people in different positions, and they can be successful.”
Each of Cal’s top five singles players won her match in straight sets. Kelly Chui on court No. 6 was the only Cal player to lose a set.
Riley McAtee covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected]