LOS ANGELES – Fourth-ranked California battled back against second-ranked UCLA after dropping the doubles point to even Friday’s match at 2-2, but the Golden Bears eventually lost to the host Bruins, 4-3, in a nonconference affair at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Cal’s record fell to 5-2, while UCLA’s record improved to 10-1.
The Bears, who made their first appearance on the Pac-12 Networks on Friday, dropped the doubles point after UCLA won on courts two and then one. The Cal duo of sophomore Lynn Chi and freshman Denise Starr posted a 6-2 loss against the 29th-ranked pair of Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips on two. Against the second-ranked team of Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady on one, Cal senior Anett Schutting and freshman Maegan Manasse lost, 6-1, on one.
Schutting collected perhaps Cal’s most impressive singles win of the year with a 6-2, 3-6, 1-0(6) victory over Anderson – who is also ranked second in the nation in singles – on court one to tie the overall match at 1-1. Today’s win marked Schutting’s first over the UCLA junior.
“I’m just so proud of Anett because she’s played Robin a lot,” Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. “Her matches at ITA indoors prepared her for this match today. She had a really good game plan. She was mentally and physically ready and believed in herself today. I’m proud of her effort. That’s a breakthrough for her for sure in terms of singles.”
In a match that could have gone either way, Cal’s 84th-ranked sophomore Klara Fabikova fell on court five to the 44th-ranked Catherine Harrison, 6-2, 3-6, 1-0(11), to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. Court four went to yet another match tiebreaker, with the 66th-ranked Chi edging the 27th-ranked McPhillips, 6-1, 5-7, 1-0(11), to tie the overall match at 2-2.
But 16th-ranked junior Zsofi Susanyi – playing on court three – dropped her match in straight sets to UCLA’s 22nd ranked Brady, 6-1, 7-6(3), giving UCLA a 3-2 lead and putting the match in the hands of Cal’s freshmen.
With the 59th-ranked Manasse leading the Bruins’ Kaitlyn Ray late in their second set on court six, the 15th-ranked Starr trailed No. 9 Chanelle Van Nguyen deep in their second set on court two. Starr wound up losing 7-6(6), 6-1 – to clinch the match for UCLA at 4-2 – while court two was in match point. Manasse tacked on a 7-5, 6-4 victory to make the final score 4-3.
“This was a really good match,” Augustus said. “Obviously we didn’t come out like we wanted to in doubles. At indoors, we obviously lost our doubles points, but the girls really responded well there. They have a lot of confidence in themselves in singles, and it showed again today. We made semis at indoors and UCLA made the final, so we showed we can play with anybody, just like in that Duke match [a 4-2 semifinal loss at ITA indoors].
“And I think we played better today in singles than even against Duke. We’re getting better every match. We just have to keep working on our doubles. We had two new teams out there today.
“We learned a ton in this match. We just went 4-3 with the team two spots ahead of us. With another match to play tomorrow, there’s just a ton of good information to take away from that.”
Cal plays at No. 9 USC at noon on Saturday.
No. 2 UCLA (10-1) def. No. 4 Cal (5-2) – 4-3
Feb. 21 in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Tennis Center
UCLA captured the doubles point.
Order of finish: 2, 1.
1: No. 37 Anett Schutting (Cal) def. No. 2 Robin Anderson (UCLA) – 6-2, 3-6, 1-0(6)
2: No. 9 Chanelle Van Nguyen (UCLA) def. No. 15 Denise Starr (Cal) – 7-6(6), 6-1
3: No. 22 Jennifer Brady (UCLA) def. No. 16 Zsofi Susanyi (Cal) – 6-1, 7-6(3)
4: No. 66 Lynn Chi (Cal) def. No. 27 Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) – 6-1, 5-7, 1-0(11)
5: No. 44 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) def. No. 84 Klara Fabikova (Cal) – 6-2, 3-6, 1-0(11)
6: No. 59 Maegan Manasse (Cal) def. Kaitlyn Ray (UCLA) – 7-5, 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 5, 4, 3, 2, 6.