This weekend was full of firsts and lasts for the Cal women’s tennis team, as tied for No. 7 junior Maegan Manasse defeated Stanford’s No. 59 junior Carol Zhao for the first time ever, and seniors No. 11 Klara Fabikova and No. 64 Lynn Chi played their final match at Hellman Tennis Complex.
“It’s a little surreal I think,” Chi said. “Yeah, four years have gone by really, really fast, and so it’s exciting because we’re moving on to the next chapter of our lives, but at the same time it’s a lot of memories.”
Clearly, this season alone will bring many great memories as well as a long-lasting legacy, as Cal remains undefeated and extend its record to 17-0 (5-0 Pac-12).
On Friday, the No. 1 Bears defeated Oregon, 7-0, in Berkeley. In doubles, Chi and Maria Smith were the first to finish, bagel-ing Paloma Gomez and Daniela Nasser, 6-0, followed by Fabikova and Olivia Hauger, who beat the pair of Marlou Kluiving and Shweta Sangwan 6-3 to clinch the doubles point for Cal.
In singles, Manasse was leading her first set, 5-0, before her match ended because No. 124 Alyssa Tobita retired with an injury. Karla Popovic was the next to finish, defeating Gomez, 6-3, 6-0, followed by No. 68 Hauger defeating Daniela Nasser in a two-set match, 6-0, 6-2, to clinch the match for the Bears. No. 93 Denise Starr and Chi both defeated their opponents in straight sets, while Fabikova was also successful in coming out with the win by beating Sangwan, 6-0, 5-7, 1-0(5), with the last set being replaced by a tie-breaker game.
“I thought the seniors did a good job,” said Cal head coach Amanda Augustus. “I think their opponents really pushed them a little bit, and I think they had to stay focused, and even though the team had won the match, it was senior day, it was their day, so I think they did a really good job of just hanging around and figuring their way out through those matches.”
Despite a solid win Friday, the Bears had to stay even more focused for Sunday’s matchup versus foe No. 18 Stanford, whose ranking seems to be an underestimation of the depth and strength of their team. The rivalry was alive as the Cal men’s tennis team showed its support by cheering loudly, which was countered by the vocal Stanford players.
The Bears lost the doubles point as the Cardinal swept, with No. 4 duo of Taylor Davidson and Caroline Doyle defeating Manasse and Starr, 6-2, and the pair of Melissa Lord and Zhao beating Fabikova and Hauger, 6-3, to begin the match.
Cal turned things around in singles, however, coming out with aggression and energy as Chi was the first to finish, upsetting No. 57 Doyle, 6-1, 6-3 — a perfect ending to her last home match. Next was Popovic who bested Lord, 6-3, 6-1, followed by Fabikova who defeated No. 23 Davidson, 6-2, 6-3, in her last match at Hellman. Shortly after, Manasse toughed out Zhao, 7-5, 6-4, in a satisfying first-time win against a seemingly unbeatable rival, clinching the match for the Bears. The last two matches were played out despite Cal already winning as Starr was upset by No. 118 Krista Hardebeck, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4), and Hauger was defeated by Carolina Lampl, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Sunday was sentimental and intense, as fans were given a great show and the seniors went out with a bang by beating their rival.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Fabikova said. “I know we had the senior day on Friday, but I knew this was really going to be our last match, and I’m very happy with how I did and how I really enjoyed being out here, and the crowd was amazing. It was definitely the most amount of people we’ve had in my whole career here, so just very happy with today, and how everyone did.”
Taylor Choe covers women’s tennis. Contact her at [email protected]