OJAI, Calif. – Klara Fabikova survived a challenging Saturday for California at the Pac-12 Championships at Libbey Park, defeating teammate Maegan Manasse in the singles invitational semifinals to reach Sunday’s final. Golden Bears Anett Schutting and Lynn Chi fell in the semifinals of the singles main draw as well as in the semifinals of the doubles main draw.
In the semifinal battle of the Bears, the fifth-seeded and 85th-ranked Fabikova topped her freshman teammate Manasse – who was seeded second and ranked 60th – 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The result evened the short series between the Bears, as Manasse beat her sophomore teammate, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the ASU Thunderbird Invitational semis last November. Fabikova will play USC’s Giuliana Olmos at 8 a.m. in Sunday’s title match in Ojai.
“It’s really exciting to see Klara make the final here,” Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. “She beat Olmos when we last played USC this season, and hopefully that experience helps Klara tomorrow.”
Cal had a chance to put two players in the main draw singles final. But Chi – a sophomore ranked 25th and seeded fifth – fell in her first meeting with UCLA’s top-seeded/11th-ranked Jennifer Brady, 6-4, 7-5, and Schutting – a third-seeded/19th-ranked senior – lost in her first clash with USC’s sixth-seeded/27th-ranked Zoë Scandalis, 6-3, 6-3.
“For Lynn, it was her first time playing in the Pac-12 semifinals, and she fought really hard and created some opportunities for herself,” Augustus said. “But I think Jenny just played a little better today. Lynn had a great week herself with some great wins. She’s getting really confident as the season progresses, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s going to do in the NCAA team tournament and hopefully in singles and doubles.
“Anett played a lot of tennis this week in singles and doubles, and I think it caught with her a little bit today. Zoë is a great competitor. They had really long points and close games. Anett needs to be a little more aggressive sooner, but hopefully she’ll get to see Zoë again in the NCAA tournament. Anett had some great results this week, fighting through some three-set matches. That’s going to give her a lot of confidence going into the NCAA Tournament.”
Those same two Bears – ranked 42nd and seeded fourth – faced a rematch in the doubles semifinals. Chi and Schutting beat Stanford’s ninth-ranked Kristie Ahn/Carol Zhao on April 19 in the Big Slam at Stanford. But this time the top-seeded Cardinal pair defeated the Bears, 8-3.
“Ahn and Zhao came out aggressively,” Augustus said. “The score doesn’t indicate we were in every game. Stanford came up with just a couple better shots when they needed to. Lynn and Anett would’ve liked to have advanced to the final, but they got some good matches in this week. Making the semifinals of the Pac-12 Championships is a good accomplishment.”
In additional action at Pac-12s, Cal’s Cecilia Estlander won two matches in the Sheila Invitational on Thursday. The junior shut out USC’s Paige Keating, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, and knocked off Stanford’s Amelia Herring, 2-6, 6-4, 10-3. On Friday, senior Alice Duranteau, playing in the singles championship consolation bracket, fell to Colorado’s Julyette Stuer, 6-3, 6-1. In the singles invitational consolation back draw, senior Kelly Chui lost to Washington State’s Olga Musilovich, 6-3, 4-6, 10-5, on Friday.