Last weekend, No. 12 Cal women’s tennis continued on its road of Pac-12 play, this time facing off against Arizona State and Arizona. The matches showed just how versatile tennis score lines can be: They can depend on a single day, a single player or a single point.
On Friday against No. 30 ASU, the Bears fell 4-3, losing their 4-0 Pac-12 winning streak.
With a doubles point under their belt, the blue and gold had an early advantage. Getting the doubles point –– 1 point goes to the team who wins two of the three doubles matches –– was an impressive feat in itself.
“ASU always has good doubles, so we knew we had to be ready,” said Cal head coach Amanda Augustus. “It was really important for us to get that doubles point.”
Despite the team’s recent success streak in doubles, singles proved to be more difficult. Losing four of the six singles matches, the only two triumphant Bears were freshmen Jessica Alsola and Katja Wiersholm. In straight sets, the young Bears brought the score up to 3-1. Losses on courts one, five and six tied the score –– with all eyes on Valentina Ivanov’s match on court four.
The junior was up 4-6, 6-2, 4-2 on the court. In a tense moment, the Australian lost her lead and ended up losing the set 4-6. Having been troubled by her injury for the past few weeks, this was one of her first proper matches back.
“There was a bit of a turning point,” Ivanov said after her match. “It was a very tight atmosphere, and it was very loud, so in the end she got the win. For me it was just a really good learning experience.”
The next day, however, Ivanov brought Cal the clinch.
Seemingly putting their loss behind them, the Bears cruised past No. 44 Arizona on Saturday, with the Wildcats not winning a single match. A 7-0 win after a 4-3 loss shows just how versatile tennis can be day to day.
“It was our first away match in a month, so we did a much better job today being ready for that,” Augustus said. “We played hard, and I’m really glad we rebounded the way we did today.”
The doubles point was close. Haley Giavara and Ivanov lost on court one, with freshmen Alsola and Wiersholm taking the win on court two. The point came down to a tiebreak on court three, with Erin Richardson and Julia Rosenqvist fighting for the win.
“Julia (Rosenqvist) and Erin (Richardson), they’ve been doing such a good job, and trusting themselves to pull that out was really important for today,” Augustus said.
In singles, too, there were some close calls. Though Cal came out with all wins, some matches could have gone either way. Giavara played a 12-10 third set tiebreak after winning the first set 6-4 but losing the second 2-6. Wiersholm’s match also went to a third-set tiebreak, though the scoreline looked quite different: The freshman pulled out a 10-1 win.
The rest of the singles matches seemed to be smooth sailing. Some notable wins include Alsola’s 6-0, 6-2 win over Arizona’s Lexi Ryngler and Richardson’s triumph of 6-2, 6-4 against her Wildcat opponent.
Augustus remarked that the team seemed more ready for the day’s conditions. Playing on the road for the first time in a while, it was easier to adjust to playing in the heat and far away from Hellman Tennis Complex. Some small adjustments helped the blue and gold triumph over the No. 44 team Saturday.
“We just went out there and took care of business,” Ivanov said, who clinched the match for the Bears, rebounding from her loss Friday. “Today was a new day; everyone did their part, and I’m so proud of everyone for getting through it because yesterday was tough for us.”