BERKELEY – Sixth-seeded California booked its ticket to Athens, Georgia, with a 4-0 win over Pepperdine in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Saturday at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Freshman Maegan Manasse clinched the contest contest – Cal’s last home match of the season – with a court-six singles victory. The sixth-ranked Golden Bears ride a 14-match winning streak into the NCAA round of 16, in which they will play Stanford on Thursday in Georgia.
The Pac-12 champion improved its record to 20-4 after beating Pepperdine, the WCC champion, which ended its season with a 19-5 record.
Just as in Friday’s first-round win over Fairleigh Dickinson, Cal came out strong in doubles. On court two, the 47th-ranked tandem of Manasse and freshman Denise Starr beat Michaela Capannolo/Yuki Chiang, 8-2, in the first completed match. The duo of senior Anett Schutting and sophomore Lynn Chi – ranked 41st – then secured the doubles point with an 8-3 victory over Lorraine Guillermo/Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai on court one. The court-three battle featuring Cal sophomore Klara Fabikova and senior Kelly Chui – who was playing in the final home match of her career – taking on Ale Granillo/Matea Cutura was abandoned with the score at 4-4.
The Waves fought hard in singles, winning first sets on courts one and two. On one, the 26th-ranked Guillermo took the first set, 6-4, over the 30th-ranked Starr, while on two, No. 124 Cutura also won the first set 6-4 over 23th-ranked junior Zsofi Susanyi. The 88th-ranked Granillo pushed the 18th-ranked Schutting to a first-set tiebreaker on court three, but Schutting prevailed, 7-6(1).
Cal got all three singles points from courts 4, 5 and 6. Chi, ranked 24th, collected the first win – a 6-1, 6-2 result over Capannolo on court four – to give Cal a 2-0 lead in the overall score. On court five, the 87th-ranked Fabikova followed with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Chiang. Manasse, ranked 62nd, clinched with her 7-5, 6-2 win over Runglerdkriangkrai.
“We were mentally prepared that it was going to be a tough match, because we knew they’re a good team and they’ve had some really good results this year,” Schutting said. “It was a tough match. It was a good competition, and I think everyone was fighting really well, and I think all of us did a great job today.”
“It was really competitive, and Pepperdine’s a really good team,” Chi said. “They were always making adjustments to try to get back into the match, and they have really good energy and were always cheering each other on. It’s exciting to play a team like that, because it pumps you up as well.”
Schutting, like Chui, played in the last home match of her career on Saturday. Alice Duranteau, another senior, played in her final home match as a Bear in the win over FDU.
“It’s a very sad thing,” Schutting said. “But at the same time I’m very excited to go to Georgia and have some great matches there.”
Whichever Pac-12 power wins in Athens will claim the season series between Cal and Stanford (18-2), who split their two regular-season matches. The Cardinal was the last team to beat the Bears and was the only opponent to beat Cal in Berkeley –5-2 in a nonconference match on March 8 – before the Bears went on their 14-match winning streak. Cal beat the Cardinal, 6-1, at Stanford in the regular-season finale to clinch the conference title with a perfect 10-0 Pac-12 record.