Women's Tennis Ranked No. 2 to Start Spring
TEMPE, Ariz. – The UCLA women's tennis team is listed at No. 2 in the 2021 Oracle ITA preseason team rankings, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Thursday.
The ITA also revealed Wednesday its initial player rankings, which feature a Pac-12-high five Bruins and the UCLA pair of Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart at the No. 1 position among doubles standouts.
Joining the top-ranked tandem in the rankings are Abbey Forbes (No. 7 singles), Sasha Vagramov (No. 113 singles) and Vanessa Ong (No. 119 singles, No. 9 newcomers). Bolton (No. 9) and Hart (No. 19) also earned top-20 spots on the singles list.
UCLA finished the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season with a 12-1 record, the program's best start since its 2014 NCAA championship campaign. The Bruins also advanced to the final round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the first time since 2014. The squad also earned two wins against conference foe and defending NCAA champion Stanford, snapping the Cardinal's 38-match league winning streak in the process. Five different UCLA players garnered Pac-12 Player of the Week honors and the pair of Bolton and Hart finished the season where it starts 2021 – at No. 1. Bolton, Forbes and Hart achieved All-America status.
Bolton and Hart went 17-3, including a 9-1 mark in dual-match play. They set the tone for the spring by capturing the doubles title at the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships. Bolton/Hart went 7-1 versus nationally-ranked opponents and was selected to the ITA Indoors All-Tournament team for No. 1 doubles.
Forbes posted a 23-3 singles record during the 2020 campaign, her first as a Bruin. She reached No. 5 in the singles rankings thanks in large part to 10 wins over nationally-ranked opponents. Among them were triumphs over No. 9 Hart, No. 12 Cameron Morra of North Carolina and No. 17 Anna Turati of Texas. Forbes' win over Hart came in the final round at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships.
Individually, Bolton registered an 11-5 mark and was named the ITA National Player to Watch after playing primarily on the top court in 2020 dual matches. Included among her six wins over nationally-ranked opponents were decisions over No. 13 Haley Giavara of California and No. 15 Mariia Kozyreva of Saint Mary's. Bolton was named Pac-12 Player of the Week after her win over Kozyreva. The No. 9 ranking represents a career-high for Bolton.
Hart twice reached No. 9 in the singles rankings during the 2019-20 season. Her marquee win came in the quarterfinal round of the Oracle ITA Masters tournament, when she edged top-ranked Katarina Jokic of Georgia in three sets. Hart also logged top-50 wins over No. 28 Valentina Ivanov of Cal, No. 45 Anastasia Iamachkine of Pepperdine and No. 49 Mia Horvit of South Carolina.
Vagramov notched a team-high six match-clinching points, including all three of the team's winning results at ITAs. For her success at Indoors, Vagramov was selected to the All-Tournament team for No. 6 singles and named Pac-12 Player of the Week. She dropped just one dual-match decision and finished 14-6 overall.
Ong, a native of Oklahoma City, Okla., appears in both the newcomers and singles lists. She is a Blue-Chip talent who was rated as high as No. 2 in her recruiting class. Ong made runs in the singles draws at the US Open junior and Orange Bowl tournaments, as well as the Billie Jean King National Championships.