The duality of college tennis means you can break a winning streak and still win. Cal women’s tennis has been on a stellar run with its doubles, winning all of its doubles points since the beginning of March — until last weekend.
The Bears lost a doubles point, meaning losing two doubles matches out of three, to Oregon in their first Pac-12 match, but held onto every doubles point since then: an impressive six-in-a-row winning streak for Cal in doubles.
Last weekend, however, the team was unable to stand strong in doubles against Washington State on Friday and Washington on Saturday.
Still winning the overall matches, both with a score of 4-3, the Bears were able to turn the early losses around. Part of the reason for the doubles loss, it seems, was the change in conditions. Although the Bears were used to playing outside, both in practice and other matches, both of the Washington matches were held inside.
“We were intending to play outside and the match got moved inside due to wind, which is kind of unusual,” said Cal head coach Amanda Augustus. “It just took us a little while, because we’ve been playing outside for quite a while now, to readjust.”
The doubles teams looked a little different last weekend. Having started to play together quite recently, the court two team of Haley Giavara and Hannah Viller Moeller seems to be improving. With Giavara’s more regular doubles partner Valentina Ivanov not playing in Washington, Giavara was joined by Viller Moeller.
Giavara remarked the two seem to be getting stronger with every match they play together. Despite not getting to finish their doubles match against Washington, as the doubles point was already clinched by their opponents, the two were up 6-5 when it was abandoned. The junior said this was one of the duo’s best double matches yet.
In singles against Washington State on Friday, Danish sophomore Viller Moeller brought the clinch. Because there were only four courts, the last two players came on after the first four were done. Augustus said this meant different players had to step up at different times, making these important victories for the team.
With an early loss on court one for Giavara on Friday, followed by wins for Julia Rosenqvist and Katja Wiersholm, the score stayed close. At 3-3, after junior Erin Richardson’s 6-3, 6-1 win against Stefaniia Mikhailova, it was down to the sophomore to stay in the game. After a first set tiebreak — which Viller Moeller took in stride with a 7-1 win — the second set came with ease, resulting in a 7-6, 6-2 win for the Dane.
Despite her early loss against Washington State, Giavara was the one who clinched Saturday against Washington. The last match going, the junior and her opponent went into a third set after both dropping a set respectively. The junior ended up coming out on top, with another win to add to the blue and gold’s now 7-1 Pac-12 record.
“It felt amazing, honestly, I rarely clinch, so that was the best win. To be the last match on and win it for everybody and have everyone come up to me was incredible,” Giavara said.
After losing the doubles point on both days, the coaching staff will be taking the week ahead to practice doubles. Ahead of a Stanford match at home next weekend, the Bears’ longtime local rival, this gives the team things to work on, with Augustus specifically highlighting return percentage.
Nevertheless, Augustus was happy with the team’s performance.
“Our team really needed to be resilient this weekend,” she said. “The fact that we’re leaving the road with two 4-3 victories … I’m really proud of where this team is at. They’re gaining more confidence each match.”