Top-Seeded Cal Opens Pac-12s Vs. Utah
BERKELEY – Top-seeded and defending champion California opens the Pac-12 Women's Tennis Championship on Thursday at 12 p.m., when the eighth-ranked Golden Bears face ninth-seeded and 52nd-ranked Utah at the Ojai Valley Tennis Club in Ojai, California. The winner of Saturday's 12 p.m. final wins the conference tournament championship and the Pac-12's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
Cal brings a 15-6 overall record into Thursday's contest against a Utah team (15-10, 3-7 Pac-12) that defeated eighth-seeded and 48th-ranked Arizona, 4-1, in Wednesday's first round in Ojai. The Bears captured the Pac-12 regular-season title with a conference-best 8-1 mark upon defeating No. 17 Stanford, 5-2, on April 16 at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley (see below).
Live scores will be available for every Pac-12 tournament match in Ojai – check CalBears.com later this week for links – and the Pac-12 Networks will televise Saturday's final. The final will be played at Libbey Park, while the tournament's earlier matches will be played at the Ojai Valley Tennis Club.
Last Time: Cal Captures Pac-12 Regular-Season Title Vs. Stanford
Seventh-ranked Cal won the 2022 Pac-12 regular-season championship when it bested No. 17 Stanford, 5-2, on April 16 at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley. Julia Rosenqvist - who clinched Cal's 2021 Pac-12 tournament championship in San Diego – defeated the Cardinal's India Houghton in singles to hand the Golden Bears their latest conference title.
Rosenqvist – whom the Bears celebrated before the match in its Senior Day ceremony – also won in doubles, as the Swede teamed with Erin Richardson to beat the Cardinal's Niluka Madurawe and Valencia Xu, 6-3, on court three. The Bears clinched the doubles point when Haley Giavara and Hannah Viller Moeller defeated Sara Choy and Alexandra Yepifanova, 6-3, on court two.
With singles wins from the 97th-ranked Giavara, who beat the 19th-ranked Connie Ma, 6-1, 6-0, and Richardson, who knocked off Choy, 6-4, 6-2, and a loss by Cal freshman Jessica Alsola, Cal built a 3-1 lead over the Cardinal. Rosenqvist then defeated Houghton, 7-6(8), 6-3, to clinch the win, with Cal leading 4-1. The teams split the last two matches to make the final score 5-2.
Valentina Ivanov Returns From International Duty
Cal junior Valentina Ivanov – who missed the Bears' last three matches to play for New Zealand in Billie Jean King Cup qualifying – has returned from the Asia Oceania Group 1 tournament in Antalya, Turkey. The Kiwis ended their stay on a high note, beating Indonesia, 2-1, on April 16 on the clay courts of the MTA Tennis Academy. But with a 1-4 record in Turkey, New Zealand did not advance to the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup.
In her last Cal match before joining New Zealand, Ivanov clinched the Bears' 7-0 rout of Arizona on April 2 with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Midori Castillo-Meza in Tucson, Arizona.
Last Time At Pac-12s: Cal Ousts UCLA For First Tourney Title
Cal captured its first Pac-12 tournament championship on April 26, 2021, when Julia Rosenqvist clinched a 4-2 victory over top-seeded UCLA at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. Rosenqvist defeated Elysia Bolton, 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-1, at court-three singles to secure the win.
The third-seeded Bears – who took home the 2014 conference title and the 1987 Pac-10 South crown prior to the inception of the Pac-12 team tournament – also earned the Pac-12's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Along with Rosenqvist's victory, Cal got singles wins from the 62nd-ranked Haley Giavara, who rallied from a 3-0 first-set deficit to beat eighth-ranked Abbey Forbes, 6-4, 6-2; Anna Bright, who defeated Annette Goulak, 6-0, 6-3; and Hannah Viller Moeller, who bested Sasha Vagramov, 6-2, 6-3.
In this week's national rankings, Cal is No. 8 in the ITA poll, No. 7 in the Cracked Rackets poll and No. 9 in the Tennis Channel/USTA Top 25. In ITA singles, Cal junior Haley Giavara (13-13) is ranked 62nd this week, while freshman Jessica Alsola (30-8 record) is ranked 64th. The ITA doubles poll ranks Giavara and Cal junior Valentina Ivanov (15-6) 39th, Alsola and junior Erin Richardson (10-4) 50th, and Alsola and freshman Katja Wiersholm (8-2) 68th.
- Cal defeated Utah 7-0 on March 18 in Berkeley
- Katja Wiersholm clinched the win over Utah when she defeated Lindsay Hung, 6-0, 6-1
- Wiersholm also partnered with Jessica Alsola to clinch the doubles point vs. Utah with a 6-0 win over Emily Dush and Anastasia Goncharova
- The Bears are riding a four-match winning streak and have won nine of their last 10 matches
- Cal has won the doubles point in 14 of its 21 dual matches
- Freshman Katja Wiersholm and Jessica Alsola earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors this season (see below)
- Wiersholm has clinched four of Cal's wins, including the win against Utah and the March 6 win over Oregon
- Wiersholm clinched Cal's first two wins of the season in the first two matches of her career against UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine
- Jessica Alsola reached the singles semifinals of the ITA Northwest Regional Championships in the fall
- Haley Giavara was a singles All-American and the ITA Northwest Regional Rookie of the Year as a freshman
- Former two-time NCAA doubles champion Amanda Augustus – the 2021 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and ITA Northwest Region Coach of the Year – is in her 15th year as head coach at her alma mater
- Augustus was inducted into the Cal Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011
- Associate head coach Zack Warren – the 2021 ITA Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year – is in his eighth year on the staff.
- Against Arizona on Wednesday at the Pac-12 Championship, Anastasia Goncharova beat Lexi Ryngler, 6-4, 6-1, to clinch Utah's win
- Utah snapped a seven-match losing streak – started by a 7-0 loss at Cal on March 18 – when it beat Colorado, 4-1, in its April 16 regular-season finale
- Linda Huang is ranked 119th in singles
- Ric Mortera is in his third season as Utah's head coach
Katja Wiersholm Named Pac-12 Player of the Week In March
Katja Wiersholm earned her first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor for her play in Cal's win over USC, 4-3, on March 26 in Berkeley.
In doubles vs. USC, the 29th-ranked Wiersholm and Jessica Alsola defeated the 64th-ranked Eryn Cayetano and Grace Piper, 6-3, on court one to clinch the doubles point for the Bears. In singles, the 122nd-ranked Wiersholm beat USC's 77th-ranked Snow Han, 6-4, 6-3, on court three, to clinch the victory.
A product of Kirkland, Washington, Wiersholm has records of 20-2 in singles and 14-4 in doubles in her first semester of collegiate tennis.
Jessica Alsola Named Pac-12 Player of the Week In January
Jessica Alsola earned her first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor on Jan. 25 after she helped the Golden Bears open the dual-match season 2-0 on the road.
Alsola picked up a big win in ninth-ranked Cal's 4-3 win over No. 2 Pepperdine on Jan. 22, defeating the 30th-ranked Victoria Flores at court-three singles, 6-3, 7-6(5), in Malibu. One day earlier, Alsola beat Camille Kiss, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, in Cal's 6-1 rout of UC Santa Barbara.
Along with her No. 50 singles ranking, Alsola is ranked seventh in the ITA Newcomer poll.
For further coverage of the Bears, follow them on Twitter (@CalWomensTennis), Instagram (@CalWomensTennis) and Facebook (@CalWomensTennis).