Sixteen days after getting shut out by UCLA, Cal turned things completely around on the fifth-ranked and top-seeded Bruins, pulling out a convincing 4-2 victory on Monday in San Diego to win the Pac-12 women’s tennis tournament championship.
The victory represented Cal’s first conference tournament championship since 2014 and also earned the 27th-ranked Golden Bears (17-6) an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
"We've been so close to beating great teams during my entire career at Cal," said Julia Rosenqvist, who captured the fourth and deciding point with her win at No. 3 singles. "This team has so much potential, and today we just battled. It all came from the heart.”
The start of the match was delayed more than three hours because of rain, but when play got under way, the Bears were as dominant in the singles matches as UCLA had been in the previous meeting.
UCLA (19-4) had beaten Cal in two of their three previous dual matches this season, and that included a 7-0 victory over the Bears on April 10 in Los Angeles. That match was even more one-sided than the team score suggests as Cal players captured five games or fewer in five of the six singles matches.
But on Monday, after losing the doubles point, Cal won three singles matches in straight sets, yielding no more than six games and any of them, before Rosenqvist won the clincher in three sets.
The biggest turnaround Monday came at No. 1 singles. Back on April 10, UCLA’s Abbey Forbes defeated Cal’s Haley Giavara 6-2, 6-0. But on Monday, Giavara was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Forbes, who is the No. 8-ranked college player in the country. Giavara, a San Diego native, dropped the first three games of Monday’s match before dominating from that point.
At No. 5 singles, the Bears’ H. Viller Moeller, a three-set loser two weeks ago, defeated Sasha Vagramov 6-3, 6-2, and Cal’s No. 6 singles player, Anna Bright, was a decisive 6-0, 6-3 winner over Annette Goulak, who had defeated Moeller at No. 5 singles when the teams had met in Los Angeles.
The clinching singles point was provided by Rosenqvist, who was a 6-2, 6-0 loser to Jada Hart at No. 2 singles on April 10. This time, playing No. 3 singles, Rosenqvist outlasted Elysia Bolton 6-7 (0-7), 7-5, 6-1.
The No. 2 singles match was midway through the third set when it was halted after Cal clinched the team victory.
Cover photo of Julia Rosenqvist by Rob Edwards, KLC Fotos
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
Find Cal Sports Report on Facebook by searching: @si.calsportsreport or going to https://www.facebook.com/si.calsportsreport