The No. 9 Cal women’s tennis team opened its first week of away matches with wins against No. 65 SDSU and No. 21 Pepperdine. The matches were the first two in a six-match road trip for the Bears.
Cal played SDSU on Friday and blanked the Aztecs 7-0 in the dual match. The win was the fifth straight for the Bears, who looked dominant in the whole game. The Bears captured the early doubles point with victories on court No. 1 and court No. 2. The No. 5 pair of sophomores Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr defeated Jana and Kristin Buth, and the No. 11 pair of senior Zsofi Susanyi and junior Klara Fabikova were victorious against Hailey Johnson and Tami Nguyen.
“I thought we played good doubles,” Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. “We really didn’t give San Diego State the opportunity to get into the doubles point. It was good to see us get that point on the board in the match relatively quickly.”
In singles, No. 4 Manasse posted the first win with a straight-set victory over Kristin Buth, 6-2, 6-1. Manasse’s forehand again proved to be a decisive factor as she eased her way to the victory.
No. 29 Susanyi won her fourth straight singles game as she made quick work of Jana Buth. The match ended, 6-1, 6-0, in Susanyi’s favor. Susanyi hit the ball cleanly and was able to move the ball around the court effectively.
No. 81 Starr clinched the overall victory for a third consecutive time. Starr clinched victories against conference foes Utah and Colorado last week. She had a fairly challenging match against Kennedy Davis but walked out with a straight-set win with a final score of 6-4, 6-3.
No. 27 Fabikova overcame a first-set deficit to defeat Nguyen in a tie-breaker set. No. 60 Karla Popovic, a freshman, and senior Cecilia Estlander also posted wins.
The Bears had a much tougher day against Pepperdine on Saturday but were able to defeat the Waves, 4-3. This was Cal’s sixth straight dual match victory, which improved its record to 11-2 on the season. Cal’s performance in doubles was crucial, as the early doubles point proved to be the difference maker.
The pair of Manasse and Starr trumped Lorraine Guillermo and Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai. Susanyi and Fabikova fell to the pair of Christine Maddox and Matea Cutura, but a victory for the pair composed of Popovic and junior Lynn Chi clinched the doubles point for the Bears.
“We played with some real intensity and were pretty aggressive on the net, too,” Augustus said of the team’s doubles play.
Cal started strong in the singles, with Fabikova posting a quick win over Laura Gulbe, 6-0, 6-2.
Susanyi notched her fifth straight singles win with a convincing victory over Michaela Capannolo, 6-1, 6-1. Susanyi again played to her strengths, and her strokes were clean and hard throughout the match.
“Zsofi’s been having much better weeks of practice, and it is showing in the matchups.” Augustus said. “She’s hitting the ball well and is on a solid run right now.”
At this point, Cal had a 3-0 lead that was cut to 3-1 after Cutura defeated Estlander. Popovic then played some very good tennis to clinch the overall victory by defeating Christine Maddox, 6-1, 6-3.
Starr was unable to win against No. 90 Runglerdkriangkrai and was defeated in a tie-breaker set, 3-6, 6-3, 10-6, Manasse too had a long and hard-fought game and lost in a tie-breaker set to No. 15 Guillermo, 4-6, 7-6(4), 10-8.
“We played some really good tennis this week and competed well,” Augustus said. “Pepperdine fought really hard too. Winning away is great and it will be good for our confidence before we face the LA schools.”
Devang Prasad covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].