OJAI, Calif. – California sent five players to the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 singles tournaments, with each of the five winning twice on the opening day of the conference event on Thursday at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club. Senior Anett Schutting, sophomore Lynn Chi and freshman Denise Starr advanced in the singles championship, while sophomore Klara Fabikova and freshman Maegan Manasse moved on in the singles invitational.
All the singles quarterfinals will take place and both the doubles championship and doubles invitational tournaments will begin on Friday at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club. Saturday’s semifinals and Sunday’s finals will be held at the Libbey Park in Ojai. The Pac-12 Women’s Tennis Championships is taking place in conjunction with the 114th Annual Ojai Tennis Tournament, which includes the Pac-12 Men’s Tennis Championship, a team tournament that concludes on Saturday.
In the singles championship, Schutting – seeded third in the tournament and ranked 19th nationally – won a pair of three-set matches to advance. In the opening round of 32, she knocked off Washington State’s 84th-ranked Elizaveta Luzina, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, and then the Golden Bear beat Arizona’s Lauren Marker, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2, in the round of 16. Schutting is next slated to play Arizona State’s Desirae Krawczyk at noon on Friday.
The fifth-seeded and 25th-ranked Chi defeated another Cougar – Maria Biryukova – in the first round, 6-4, 6-1, and then topped USC’s Brynn Boren, 6-1, 6-3, to reach the quarterfinals. Chi plays Stanford’s fourth-seeded and 23rd-ranked Carol Zhao at noon on Friday. Starr – seeded seventh and ranked 31st – beat Arizona’s 46th-ranked Lacey Smyth, 6-2, 6-2, and then defeated Stanford’s 49th-ranked Ellen Tsay, 6-0, 6-4. Starr takes on UCLA’s top-seeded and 11th-ranked Jennifer Brady in a noon quarterfinal.
“It’s a good opportunity for Lynn to play in the championship draw,” Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said of Chi, who played in the Pac-12 singles invitational as a freshman. “She made the most of the opportunity. She played two great matches but especially in her second one against Boren. Lynn’s gaining confidence each round. She hasn’t played Zhao yet. That’s what so great about this tournament; they get a look at different players that they don’t usually play. This will help get us ready for NCAAs.”
Two of the four Bears playing in the singles invitational tournament reached the quarters. Freshman Maegan Manasse – seeded second and ranked 60th – did not lose a game in either of her two matches. First she bageled Oregon’s Kadie Hueffner, 6-0, 6-0, in the opening round of 32, and then she blanked Arizona State’s Joanne Smith, 6-0, 6-0. Manasse faces USC’s seventh-seeded Gabriella DeSimone at noon on Friday.
“Maegan’s really been playing well, and her wins the last couple weeks have given her lot of confidence,” Augustus said. “Being from southern California, she’s familiar with this tournament. She’s excited to be playing in the Pac-12 division rather than playing in the open division as a junior. She had a great first day and is really looking forward to tomorrow.”
The fifth-seeded and 85th-ranked Fabikova opened with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Utah’s Paige Miles before beating Stanford’s Lindsey Kostas, 6-2, 6-0. She plays Washington’s Riko Shimizu in Friday’s noon quarterfinal.
Eighth-seeded Alice Duranteau won her round of 32 contest with Colorado’s Vitaliya Alkhovik, 6-0, 6-2. But the Cal senior fell in the round of 16 to ASU’s Leighann Sahagun, 6-2, 6-3. In the round of 32, Cal senior Kelly Chui lost to the top-seeded and 52nd-ranked Caroline Doyle, 6-1, 6-1.
“The girls are ready for another good day of tennis,” Augustus added. “I’m really excited to get the doubles going tomorrow.”