Feb. 22, 2013
BERKELEY - Buoyed by a strong start in doubles play, seventh-ranked California pushed No. 2 UCLA to the limit in singles - even without the top-ranked Zsofi Susanyi - but the Golden Bears (3-3) ultimately fell, 4-3, to the Bruins (7-1) after the nonconference match on Friday afternoon at the Hellman Tennis Complex.
Tayler Davis claimed a three-set win for the Bears on court four to knot the match at 3-3. The senior bested 78th-ranked Channelle Van Nguyen, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, to give Cal a chance to claim the match via Klara Fabikova's match vs. No. 42 Kyle McPhillips on court three.
"The first set, I wasn't able to find a solution to her," Davis said. "The second set she was up, but I just hung in there and took my opportunities when I had them."
Fabikova, ranked 113th nationally, dropped her first set, 3-6, but the freshman bounced back to win, 6-4, in the second. With all the spectators and participants looking on after the court-four match was complete, the two freshmen on court three played another tight set in the third. Fabikova had a chance to close out the match when she was serving while up 5-4, but McPhillips broke her to tie the set at 5-5. Down 6-5, Fabikova did well to stave off a pair of match points, but McPhillips finally prevailed, 7-5.
"I was really excited to see Tay come back and pull out that match," Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. "I think she really needed that, to get her confidence back on track. At (the ITA National Team Indoor Championship) I don't think she finished any of her singles matches."
Susanyi had paired with Fabikova to clinch the doubles point for the Bears. But the sophomore Cal star suffered an injury that kept her out of singles action. The 31st-ranked Susanyi and Fabikova - playing on court two - defeated the b37th-ranked team of Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez, 8-5, to give Cal the early lead in the race for the doubles point.
The Bears trailed much of the early match on both courts one and three. But the 27th-ranked pair of freshman Lynn Chi and junior Anett Schutting rallied to beat Robin Anderson/Van Nguyen, 9-7. The teams completed play on court three, with Davis and sophomore Laura Posylkin topping McPhillips/Catherine Harrison, 9-8(7).
"Good doubles point," Augustus said. "That's the best we've competed in doubles in a while. We were down on (court) one and worked really hard to get back into it. That was their first time playing at one, I think. They had a little bit of nerves playing on the top court. They did a really good job. To have (court) three pull it out as well just bodes well. We've worked really hard on doubles the last week and a half, since we've been home. I'm seeing some progress. That was a really good start."
With Susanyi out of singles, Augustus needed to shuffle the lineup, with Schutting - ranked No. 30 - taking on No. 6 Robin Anderson of UCLA on court one, No. 66 Chi playing No. 56 Montez on court two and so on. Schutting lost to the Bruins' top player, 6-1, 6-0, to tie the team score at 1-1.
UCLA moved ahead of Cal, 2-1, when junior Alice Duranteau fell to the Bruins' Courtney Dolehide, 6-1, 6-2, on court six. But a few minutes later Chi tied the match at 2-2 when she beat Montez, 6-1, 6-4.
The Bruins retook the lead at 3-2 after Cal junior Kelly Chui lost to No. 76 Catherine Harrison, 6-2, 6-2, on court five, before the three-set matches on courts four and three decided the match.
"It was a good fight," Augustus said. "They're a good team. They got to the finals of indoors. It's very, very encouraging for the first match back at home, and we've got another one to play tomorrow. How we rebound from this tomorrow is going to be very important. There're just so many positives we take away from this. I thought we really competed a lot better overall, and that was the team's goal today."
"It was really encouraging to see how hard we fought," Davis added. "It was really nice to see everyone step up today."
Cal hosts sixth-ranked USC in another nonconference match slated for noon on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Hellman.
No. 2 UCLA 4, No. 7 Cal 3
Feb. 22 in Berkeley, Calif.
Order of Finish: 2, 1. 3
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 2, 5, 4, 3.