No. 6 Women's Tennis Visits No. 17 USC Friday
The No. 6 UCLA women's tennis team will conclude February with a Friday trip across town to face its crosstown rival, 17th-ranked USC. The non-conference match is set for a 12 p.m., PT start at David X. Marks Tennis Stadium. The Bruins (5-2) are looking to rebound from a 4-3 loss at California, while the Trojans (5-2) carry back-to-back 6-1 wins over Hawai'i and San Diego into the contest. USC has suffered a pair of close losses to Pepperdine, while the UCLA edged out the Waves in a consolation match at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
Live streaming and live scoring for Friday's match will be available HERE.
Fans are not permitted to attend events at UCLA Athletics venues, including Los Angeles Tennis Center, in adherence to the latest COVID-19 guidelines set by the state of California and Los Angeles County. Live streaming and live scoring for all home UCLA women's tennis matches will be available at UCLABruins.com.
UCLA VS. USC
UCLA women's tennis holds a narrow advantage of 55-51 in its all-time series with USC. The Bruins have come out on top of the last two meetings, which were both played at David X. Marks Tennis Stadium. Last year, UCLA earned a 5-2 win in a match that was decided at 4-1. Sasha Vagramov recorded one of her team-high six 2020 clinching victories, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 decision versus Constance Branstine on Court 6. Jada Hart and Elysia Bolton registered straight-set wins and Abi Altick prevailed in three sets for the final point of the day. The top-court team of Bolton and Hart suffered a loss in doubles play, but was picked up by Court 2's Abbey Forbes and Taylor Johnson, as well as Altick and Annette Goulak on Court 3.
LAST TIME OUT
UCLA suffered a 4-3 loss to California in a non-conference match at Hellman Tennis Complex on Feb. 20. The Bruins could not seize the doubles point, but were able to claim leads at 2-1 and 3-2 before dropping each of the remaining contests in three sets. Abbey Forbes, Jada Hart and Sasha Vagramov logged singles wins for UCLA. The loss evened the season series between the teams, as the Bruins previously logged a 4-0 home win in their season opener during ITA Kickoff Weekend. They are scheduled to meet again Saturday, April 10 at Los Angeles Tennis Center.
IN THE RANKINGS
The Bruins dropped to No. 6 in the Oracle ITA team rankings, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Wednesday, Feb. 24. The player rankings, revealed Jan. 13, feature a Pac-12-high five Bruins and the 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. While Ong made her first appearance in the singles rankings, Bolton matched her career-best showing. Bolton and Hart occupy the No. 1 doubles spot for the third time since joining forces during the 2018 fall campaign. The pair holds a record of 50-14 over three seasons, including a 31-9 mark in 2018-19. Bolton/Hart is 3-1 against top-five teams and defeated then-No. 1 Anna Rogers and Alana Smith of NC State, 6-4, 6-3, to claim UCLA's first Oracle ITA National Fall Championships doubles title (Nov. 10, 2019).
BOLTON, HART EARN PAC-12 WEEKLY HONORS
One season removed from collecting five of eight Pac-12 Player of the Week awards, UCLA student-athletes received the first two conference honors of 2021. Elysia Bolton, who was on court for the first and final points of the Bruins' ITA Kickoff Weekend win over Texas A&M, received the first. The award represents the third of her career. Most recently, Jada Hart brought in the sixth of her time at UCLA. The latest came after a trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships that included singles wins over No. 94 Lulu Sun of Texas and No. 45 Lexi Ryngler of Pepperdine. UCLA women's tennis has garnered 32 Pac-12 Player of the Week awards in program history.
2019-20 IN REVIEW
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 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 Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart finished the season where it starts 2021 – at No. 1. Bolton, Hart and Abbey Forbes achieved All-America status.
Freshman Vanessa Ong and University of Georgia transfer Vivian Wolff join the Bruins in 2020-21. Hailing from Oklahoma City, Ong was a Blue-Chip prospect who ranked as high as No. 2 in her class, according to TennisRecruiting.net. Ong earned a berth into the 2016 US Open junior tournament, where she won three singles matches before falling to current WTA No. 8 Bianca Andreescu of Canada on the Grandstand court. Ong reached the quarterfinal rounds of the Eddie Herr Girls' 18 doubles and Orange Bowl Girls' 18 singles draws, respectively, in 2017. She went on to earn trips to the 2018 Easter Bowl Girls' 18 doubles semifinal round and the 2018 USTA International Spring Championships Girls' 18 singles quarters. Ong was a standout performer at the 2018 USTA Billie Jean King National Championships, registering quarterfinal-round showings in the Girls' 18 singles and doubles draws. Wolff, a senior, moves to the West Coast an owner of a 56-20 career singles record and a doubles mark of 45-17 over three seasons with the Bulldogs. She achieved All-America status with partner Elena Christofi for their performance during the 2019 fall season. Georgia registered a national runner-up finish in 2019 and Wolff proved a major part on the fourth singles court. The then-sophomore went 32-3, including a 24-1 showing in dual matches. Wolff won her final 20 singles decisions on the year and garnered First-Team All-SEC recognition.
SHE'S NOT. DONE. YET!
In a letter to the UCLA community April 23, 2020, Jada Hart announced she would take advantage of an additional year of eligibility provided by the NCAA after the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. Hart said, "Knowing I was going to get an extra year to end my UCLA career on my terms was an opportunity I could not pass up ... I'm very blessed to get one more year to wear the blue and gold and be surrounded by an amazing team that I get to call MY FAMILY." Hart holds a career singles record of 86-37 and currently sits in a tie for 16th place on the program's career wins list (since 1991). On the doubles side, she possesses a record of 109-37 and captured the 2019 Oracle ITA Fall National Championships doubles title with partner Elysia Bolton. Hart has a chance to become the ninth four-time All-American in UCLA women's tennis history.
BRUINS IN THE PROS
A bevy of Bruins is active on the professional circuits, with Jennifer Brady (2014, 2015) and Ena Shibahara (2017, 2018) currently building off breakout 2020 campaigns. Brady recently climbed to a career-best No. 13 in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings, achieved in large part due to her performances at the 2020 US Open and, most recently, the 2021 Australian Open. The ranking also represents the best-ever showing by a Bruin. Brady advanced to the singles final round at the Australian Open, surpassing her semifinal-round showing at the US Open just months earlier. Brady also captured the first WTA title of her career in the singles draw of the 2020 Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky. Shibahara, meanwhile, has attained much of her success in doubles play. Alongside regular partner Shuko Aoyama, Shibahara claimed the top spots at the Abu Dhabi Open and the Yarra Valley Classic events early this year. The titles marked the fourth and fifth on the WTA Tour for Shibahara/Aoyama. Shibahara is currently slotted at a career-high No. 15 in the WTA doubles rankings.
HEAD COACH STELLA SAMPRAS WEBSTER
Head coach Stella Sampras Webster is in her 25th season at the helm of the UCLA women's tennis program, compiling an impressive overall record of 458-168 (.732). She is the second-longest-tenured active coach at UCLA, behind men's tennis head coach Billy Martin. Sampras Webster has guided her alma mater to NCAA championships in 2008 and 2014, the first two in program history. Her teams have finished top-10 nationally in 20 of her 23 completed seasons and in the top five 14 times. Three doubles pairs have won NCAA titles under Sampras Webster's tutelage, most recently Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield in 2019.