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Women's Tennis Begins NCAA Championship Play Saturday

May 6, 2022

The UCLA women's tennis team is set to start NCAA Championships play Saturday, when it faces off with Arkansas at Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Okla. The third-ever matchup of the Bruins (12-6) and Razorbacks (16-9) begins at 11 a.m. PT. The second contest of the day begins at 2 p.m. PT and features New Mexico State (11-15) taking on host and No. 12-seed Oklahoma State (18-5). The advancing teams then meet Sunday at 12 p.m. PT for a spot in the Round of 16.

NCAA Tournament Appearances: 40th
Overall Won-Lost Record: 93-37
Appearances Unseeded: Fifth
Round of 16 Appearances (Last): 36 (2021)
Quarterfinal Round Appearances (Last): 26 (2021)
Semifinal Round Appearances (Last): 15 (2015)
Final Round Appearances (Last): 9 (2015)
NCAA Championships: 2 (2008, 2014)

TennisONE App is the exclusive streaming home for the NCAA Division I Championships. To get the TennisONE App, click HERE. Up-to-the-second results from the Greenwood Tennis Center will be available HERE.

UCLA women's tennis is one of two programs (Stanford) to qualify for the NCAA Championships each year since the tournament format was adopted, stretching the run to 40 seasons with its latest selection. Head coach Stella Sampras Webster's teams have claimed each of the program's NCAA titles during that time, taking the top spots in 2008 and 2014. The Bruins will attempt to improve upon a 93-37 all-time record in NCAA play. UCLA has twice met Arkansas, earning a pair of wins during the 2008 season. The Bruins defeated the Razorbacks by a 4-3 score in an ITA Indoors consolation match (Feb. 8) and recorded a shutout in the NCAA Championships quarterfinal round (May 17) on the way to their program's first NCAA title.

Second-seeded UCLA got off to a strong start in its Pac-12 Championships semifinal-round match April 22, but was overcome by No. 3-seed Stanford for a 4-1 result at Ojai Valley Athletic Club. The Bruins seized the doubles point without a loss and grabbed three singles first sets, but the Cardinal charged back to record four singles wins without a loss. Valencia Xu clinched the victory for Stanford, which ultimately took the conference crown with a 4-2 decision against fifth-seeded Arizona State the next day.

Elysia Bolton, Abbey Forbes and Elise Wagle garnered at-large berths in the 2022 NCAA Division I Championships singles and doubles tournaments, the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Subcommittee announced Tuesday. Bolton and Forbes earned spots in the 64-player singles draw, while the combination of Bolton and Wagle made the 32-team doubles field. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 23-28 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Champaign, Illinois, after the conclusion of the team championship, which runs from May 20-22. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will serve as host. Bolton has qualified twice for the singles tournament and three times for doubles. She previously played alongside Jada Hart in 2019 and 2021. Forbes will be making her second appearance in the singles field. Wagle is set for her debut in either national individual tournament.

Abbey Forbes, Elysia Bolton and Kimmi Hance garnered All-Conference honors, the Pac-12 announced Wednesday following a vote by its head coaches. Forbes made the First Team for the second time in as many years. Bolton was also recognized for the second time in her career, earning a spot on the Second Team. Hance made the Honorable Mention cut in her first season eligible.

UCLA is No. 20 in the most recent ITA team rankings, released Wednesday. The team is 18th in the latest Tennis Channel/USTA College Tennis Top 25, also unveiled Wednesday. Wednesday also saw five Bruins slotted into the ITA individual rankings. Abbey Forbes leads the way on the singles list, at No. 25. Elysia Bolton is No. 58 and Kimmi Hance is No. 122. The doubles combination of Bolton and Elise Wagle found itself at No. 29, while Forbes and Ava Catanzarite are ranked together at No. 86. As a team, the Bruins completed the 2020-21 season ranked No. 5 by the ITA.

When freshmen Ava Catanzarite, Kimmi Hance and Elise Wagle registered singles wins in UCLA's 6-1 home win versus California Feb. 21, it represented the first time since April 14, 2012 that three first-year Bruins triumphed individually in a dual match. In that 2012 contest, a 5-2 UCLA victory against Stanford at Los Angeles Tennis Center, four freshmen – Robin Anderson, Skylar Morton, Kaitlin Ray and Chanelle Van Nguyen – were all victorious.

In its 6-1 non-conference win against visiting California Feb. 21 at Los Angeles Tennis Center, UCLA responded emphatically to losing the doubles point. The Bruins claimed each singles first set and ultimately five straight-set victories. Elise Wagle, who overcame a 1-5 first-set deficit, was forced into a 10-point tiebreaker, which she won to complete the sweep. The Golden Bears were ranked No. 7 at the time of the match. The last time UCLA was victorious in such a fashion was April 18, 2007, when the Bruins bounced back versus Pepperdine at LATC.

Kimmi Hance was tabbed ITA x Universal Tennis Player of the Week for Division I after seeing her Universal Tennis Rating climb 0.10 with wins against Oregon and Pepperdine. The freshman beat No. 86 Savannah Broadus of the Waves by a 6-3, 7-5 score, capping a perfect individual day that also saw Hance team with Sasha Vagramov for a 7-6(0) victory versus Victoria Flores and Nikki Redelijk (April 6). Two days later, Hance/Vagramov triumphed over Ares Teixido Garcia and Karin Young of the Ducks, clinching the doubles point with a 6-3 result.

Abbey Forbes was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for Feb. 21-27, the conference announced Tuesday. She was a key contributor to the Bruins' home sweep of No. 7 California (Feb. 21) and No. 12 USC (Feb. 25), which were handed 6-1 and 4-1 losses, respectively. Forbes and UCLA bounced back from losing the doubles point in the opener, as the junior kick started a singles sweep with her 6-1, 6-1 defeat of the Golden Bears' Haley Giavara on Court 1. Against their crosstown rivals, Forbes had a hand in securing the first and last points for the Bruins. The 30th-ranked combination of Forbes and Ava Catanzarite recorded a 6-2 win against No. 19 Salma Ewing and Snow Han on Court 2 to give UCLA a lead it would not relinquish. Then, with her team leading by a 3-1 score, Forbes sealed the victory with a 6-4, 7-5 triumph over the fifth-ranked Eryn Cayetano.

Bruins made appearances at five events during the fall. Abbey Forbes took part in two national singles tournaments, notching wins against nationally-ranked opponents at the ITA All-American Championships and ITA National Fall Championships. The combination of Vanessa Ong and Elise Wagle posted the standout performance, capturing the doubles title at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships to earn a spot in the year-end national field. Sasha Vagramov led the team with seven singles victories, a total helped in large part by her run to the ITA Southwest Regionals quarterfinal round.

2020-21 IN REVIEW
The 2020-21 UCLA women's tennis team collected the first outright Pac-12 title in program history, going 10-0 in regular-season conference tilts. The Bruins outscored their league foes by a 53-6 margin during the regular season. The team went on to reach the NCAA Championships quarterfinal round before it was felled by eventual national runner-up Pepperdine in a 4-3 decision that dropped its final record to 22-5. Abbey Forbes was named the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year and earned the conference's Doubles Team of the Year award alongside Jada Hart. Forbes, Hart and Elysia Bolton all received ITA All-America recognition.

Head coach Stella Sampras Webster is in her 26th season at the helm of the UCLA women's tennis program, compiling an impressive overall record of 487-177 (.733). 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 21 of her 24 completed seasons and in the top five 15 times. Three doubles pairs have won NCAA titles under Sampras Webster's tutelage, most recently Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield in 2019.