Sometimes, it feels like the tennis season never ends.
A national champion was crowned on Tuesday. Classes wrapped up more than a week ago. And yet, the Bears still had tennis to play.
Immediately following the NCAA team championships that ended on May 21, the singles and doubles tournaments got straight into action the next day in Urbana, Ill.
On Wednesday, the Bears sent three players to compete in the singles tournament, while no one made the doubles tournament. While Cal was unable to take home a victory, Zsofi Susanyi was able to advance to the Sweet 16.
Of the three players who made the singles tournament — Anett Schutting, Klara Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi — Schutting was the first to fall.
Schutting got off to a slow start despite being the No. 8 player in the country and ultimately fell to Rice’s Natalie Beazant.
Meanwhile, the other Bears were able to advance.
The freshman Fabikova also had a slow start but was able to gain momentum en route to a 7-5, 6-2 victory over UNC’s Witney Kay.
Sophomore Zsofi Susanyi, meanwhile, featured no slow starts on the first day. She dominated her first opponent, Caroline Rohde-Moe out of Ole Miss, in a 6-3, 6-0 win on Wednesday.
As a result, the freshman and sophomore were able to advance to the NCAA round of 32.
In the second round, Fabikova was the next player to fall.
The freshman out of the Czech Republic faced a huge challenge in No. 11 Mary Weatherholt out of Nebraska. It was a match that she was never expected to win, and there would be no upsets for Fabikova. Weatherholt, who would go on to play in the finals of the tournament, ousted Fabikova in a 6-2, 6-1 route.
Meanwhile, there was still one Bear left standing.
Susanyi was still on the court for Cal. She faced UNLV’s Lucia Batta in the second round after Fabikova’s loss earlier in the day.
Like Susanyi, Batta is from Hungary, and as a result, the two are familiar with each other. With the wind howling, Susanyi was able to post a 6-3, 6-4 victory to advance to the Sweet 16.
In the third round, she faced her first real test of the tournament in No. 16 Yana Koroleva out of Clemson.
Susanyi was on a five-game win streak coming into the match, but she just couldn’t get past Koroleva. The two battled in an incredibly tight match that finished with a 7-5, 7-6(6) score that allowed Koroleva to advance.
The loss is somewhat of a disappointment following Susanyi’s trip to the semifinals last year. But it was an expected disappointment. Susanyi battled a hip flexor injury all year, and her No. 5 rating was likely inflated.
The loss brought Cal’s season to a close.
Though the Bears do not have any titles to bring with them back to Berkeley, they have a young roster to be excited about. Schutting, Susanyi and Fabikova will most likely represent the top three courts for Cal next year, and the oldest among them is Schutting, a junior.
While the Cal squad cannot boast a championship this year, its future looks bright.
Riley McAtee covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected]