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No. 3 Cal women's tennis notches dominant wins over Washington State, USF

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APRIL 13, 2015

The No. 3 Cal women’s tennis team emerged victorious in a double-header Sunday against Washington State and USF. The Bears looked convincing in their wins over both the teams as they swept them, 7-0 and 4-0, respectively.

The win against Washington State improved Cal’s conference record to 8-1. Cal won the doubles point, as the pair of sophomore Denise Starr and junior Lynn Chi beat the Cougars’ Donika Bashota and Victoria Matejevic, and Cal’s freshman duo of Lyann Hoang and Karla Popovic defeated Maria Biryukova and Nastia Vasyukhina.

Cal continued its dominance in the singles as it won matches on all the courts. No. 34 senior Zsofi Susanyi posted the first victory, as she disposed of Lize Leenknecht, 6-4, 6-0. Susanyi had some problems in the first set, but she responded brilliantly and finished the match in her typical style: by setting up points on her backhand.

No. 20 junior Klara Fabikova played on court No. 1, where her powerful strokes helped her overcome Elizaveta Luzina, 6-1, 6-2. This was Fabikova’s third match on court No. 1 this season and her second win.

“I think Klara (Fabikova) did great on court No. 1,” said head coach Amanda Augustus. “She had a brilliant win against Washington State. Her hard work in practice definitely paid off.”

No. 47 Starr’s 6-4, 6-0 win over Biryukova clinched the overall victory for the Bears. Starr’s variation of groundstrokes and slices kept Biryukova guessing throughout the match, and Starr was able to post an easy win.

After a 45-minute break, the Bears were all set to play USF in a nonconference dual match. The Cal players did not look especially tired after the earlier match and romped to a 4-0 win.

The doubles matches had a story similar to those of the previous match, with Cal capturing them easily. The No. 9 pair of Susanyi and Fabikova beat Andrea Ka and Marina Nikolic, 8-3. Fabikova’s powerful strokes and Susanyi’s ability to find gaps on the court spearheaded the pair to victory. The pair of Chi and Starr then beat Genevieve McCloskey and Thyra Taune by the same score line.

The teams played only three full singles matches this time before the rest were abandoned. Starr was the first to post a win, as she beat Taune, 6-1, 6-1. She played with the same style that she used against Washington State, and because of Starr’s precise and effective groundstrokes, there was not much Taune could do. One unforced error led to another for Taune, and she could never get back into the matchup. Starr’s victory was followed by Susanyi’s win over Nikolic. Susanyi’s backhand again proved to be the difference-maker, as Nikolic failed to cope up with it. The score line read 6-2, 6-1 in favor of Susanyi and 3-0 in favor of Cal.

No. 84 Popovic clinched the overall win for the Bears, as she beat Milica Hadzi-Tanovic in straight sets. Popovic earned a hard-fought victory against Washington State, and the unforced errors she committed in her previous match were absent this time, as her trademark forehand tormented Hadzi-Tanovic. Popovic’s win gave Cal the overall 4-0 win against USF and improved the Bears’ regular-season record to 18-3.

“I think the team did really well,” Augustus said. “They are not used to playing two matches on the same day, but they played really well. They maintained their mental focus and were able to close out the sets. They played aggressively and did a very good job.”

Devang Prasad covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].

APRIL 13, 2015

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