No. 20 Cal Opens Pac-12 Championship Saturday
BERKELEY – Twentieth-ranked and third-seeded California women's tennis opens the Pac-12 Championship in the quarterfinals on Saturday, April 24, at 12 p.m. at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. The 14-6 Golden Bears, who finished third in the conference with a 7-3 record to earn a first-round bye, will face Oregon, which defeated Utah, 4-0, in Friday's first round.
During the regular season, Cal defeated the Ducks, 4-3, on April 2 in Eugene, Oregon. The sixth seed with a 5-5 conference record, Oregon brings a 13-7 overall record into Saturday's quarterfinal.
After the quarterfinals, the conference tournament moves to Sunday's semifinals and ends with Monday's 12 p.m. final, with the champion earning the Pac-12's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. The championship match will air live on the Pac-12 Networks. Please click here for live scores for each match.
Normally held at the Ojai Valley Tennis Club in Ojai, California, the Pac-12 Championship moved to the Barnes Tennis Center this spring because the Ojai was unable to host the tournament due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Pac-12 Championship will likely return to the Ojai in 2022.
The Pac-12 is allowing a limited number of fans at the Barnes Tennis Center. Only two family guests per student-athlete and coaches may attend, and guests must be California residents.
Cal is ranked 20th in this week's Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25, is tied for 23rd in the Oracle ITA coaches' poll and sits at No. 27 in the Oracle ITA computerized rankings. Cal sophomore Haley Giavara, an All-American as a freshman, is ranked 62nd in the Oracle ITA singles poll this week. She has a 10-9 record.
Last Time: Bears Edged In Big Slam
Sixteenth-ranked California battled No. 26 Stanford on April 16 in yet another close Big Slam between the rivals, but the host team prevailed, 4-3, to close the regular season at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
The Cardinal clinched its win when Sara Choy defeated Cal freshman Hannah Viller Moeller, 6-2, 6-3 at court-five singles.
The dual match was Cal's first on the Farm since April 20, 2018, though some Golden Bears competed in the ITA Northwest Regional Championships at Stanford in October 2019.
The teams had a tight finish in doubles. Cal started out with a win on court one, as Haley Giavara and Valentina Ivanov topped Michael Gordon and Niluka Madurawe, 6-3. The Bears' duo of Anna Bright and Hannah Viller Moeller fell to Emily Arbuthnott and Angelica Blake, 6-3, on court two, leaving court three to decide the point. Cal's Jada Bui and Erin Richardson had set point at 5-4 but couldn't close out the match. Instead Choy and Emma Higuchi won 7-5, and the Cardinal claimed the doubles point.
Stanford won the first two matches in singles to take a 3-0 lead. But Cal rebounded when Julia Rosenqvist bested Arbuthnott, 6-1, 6-2, on court three and Bui beat Ana Geller, 6-4, 6-2, on court four. Cal trailed 3-2.
The court five match then decided the overall result, as Stanford took a 4-2 lead. In the last match of the day, Bright won a hard-fought battle over Higuchi, 6-7(5), 6-2, 1-0(7), on court six to complete the score.
- The Bears' doubles pair of Haley Giavara and Valentina Ivanov had a notable win this year when it upset Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart – who were then-ranked No. 1 – 6-4 on Feb. 20.
- Ivanov and Giavara have a 10-5 record and are 8-2 in the Pac-12.
- Senior Julia Rosenqvist has a 12-7 singles record including an 8-4 Pac-12 mark.
- Ivanov, a sophomore, has a 10-8 singles record, including 7-4 in the Pac-12.
- Freshman Jada Bui is 8-5 in singles, including 7-4 on court four.
- Hannah Viller Moeller has had a strong start to her Cal career, going 13-6 in singles thus far.
- Senior Anna Bright has won six of her last seven singles matches and is 15-3 overall.
- The court-two doubles team of Bright and Viller Moeller is 10-6.
- Former two-time NCAA doubles champion Amanda Augustus is in her 14th year as head coach at her alma mater.
- The Ducks have lost four of their last six matches (including the April 2 loss to Cal).
- Oregon's last win prior to Friday was a 4-3 victory over then-No. 25 Stanford on April 4 in Eugene.
- In its last two matches before the conference tournament, Oregon lost at No. 48 Washington, 4-2, on April 9 and at Washington State, 4-3, on April 11.
- Janice Tjen (17-3) is ranked 36th in singles.
- Courtney Nagle is in her third season as head coach of the Ducks.
2019 Pac-12 Championship Review
In the previous conference tournament, 16th-ranked and fifth-seeded Cal lost in its first match of the Pac-12 Championship on April 25, 2019, with the Golden Bears falling to fourth-seeded and 15th-ranked USC, 4-1, at Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai. The Trojans clinched when Danielle Willson defeated Cal's Hana Mraz, 7-6(4), 6-1, at court-six singles.
Cal got first blood in doubles when the 88th-ranked pair of Olivia Hauger and Katerina Stloukalova beat Constance Branstine and Estella Jaeger, 6-1, on court three. But the Trojans' second-ranked Angela Kulikov and Rianna Valdes topped Cal's 17th-ranked Mraz and Julia Rosenqvist, 6-4, on court one, and then USC secured the point when Willson and Becca Weissmann edged Cal's 40th-ranked Anna Bright and Jasie Dunk, 7-6(4), on court two.
USC increased its lead to 2-0 when the 105th-ranked Angela Kulikov upset Hauger – ranked 47th – 6-2, 6-0, at court-two singles. Bright, ranked 74th, put Cal on the scoreboard at 2-1 when she bested Valdes, 6-1, 6-1, on court four. Rosenqvist, ranked 41st, suffered a first-set loss to the 50th-ranked Salma Ewing on court one, but the Swede rebounded to win the second set and then take a 3-6, 6-4, 2-1 lead.
The Trojans took a 3-1 lead when Ana Neffa beat Stloukalova, 6-1, 6-4, on court three. But any chance of a Cal comeback, with Rosenqvist potentially winning and Maria Smith – trailing Weissmann, 6-1, 5-4, on court five – perhaps rebounding ended when Willson won to end the day.
Giavara Named March 23 Pac-12 Player Of The Week
Haley Giavara earned the Pac-12 Player of the Week honor on March 23 after the Cal star led the Bears to a sweep of Arizona and No. 25 Arizona State in Berkeley.
This marked the first career weekly conference accolade for the San Diego product. It is also Cal's second Pac-12 honor of 2021, with Valentina Ivanov claiming the award on Feb. 23.
In Cal's 7-0 rout of the Wildcats on March 19, the 18th-ranked Giavara defeated Jelena Lukic, 7-5, 7-6(5), at court-one singles. Earlier, the 40th-ranked pair of Giavara and Ivanov beat Lukic and Khim Iglupas, 6-2, to help the Bears claim the doubles point.
On March 20, Giavara bested ASU's 37th-ranked Ilze Hattingh, 6-3, 6-2, as Cal cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Sun Devils.