Women’s Tennis Set for Non-Conference Clashes in Northern California
The UCLA women’s tennis team (1-2) begins a non-conference road trip in Northern California this week, with visits to Saint Mary’s (1-0) and No. 20 California (2-1) set on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The trip represents a return to the West Coast for the Bruins, who are coming off a pair of ITA Kickoff Weekend games in Coral Gables, Fla. Friday’s game begins at 11:00 a.m. PT, while Saturday’s begins at 12:00 p.m.
Fans can get score updates from Moraga, Calif. Friday on the UCLA women’s tennis Twitter account (@uclawtennis). Live streaming and live scoring on Saturday from the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley, California will be available HERE.
LAST TIME OUT
18 UCLA dropped a 4-1 decision to FIU on Sunday in the ITA weekend consolation match, ending its time at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables, Fla. The day before, the Bruins were defeated by state no. 24 of Iowa in a first-round contest. The Bruins were unable to take advantage of a 3-1 lead built on doubles and singles wins by Ava Catanzarite and Fangran Tian in that one. Catanzarite defeated two nationally ranked singles opponents during her time on the University of Miami campus, knocking off No. 80 Anna Supapitch Kuearum of Iowa State and the Panthers’ No. 106 Kamila Umarova.
UCLA VS. SAINT MARY’S, CALIFORNIA
UCLA holds 9-0 all-time records against Saint Mary’s and 50-37 against California. The Bruins met the Gaels every year from 2015-2020, outscoring their Northern California neighbors 32-2. In the most recent clash, during the 2020 season shortened by COVID-19, UCLA didn’t drop a set en route to a 7-0 win at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Abbey Forbes secured the win. Saturday’s meeting will represent the first meeting in Moraga, California since 2015, when the Bruins won 6-1. UCLA crossed paths with the Golden Bears once in 2022, with the Bruins responding to a lost doubles point by scoring six singles victories to prevail 6-1. Kimmi Hance made the decision.
The Bruins competed in six events, including two nationals, during the fall. There were two championship appearances as Kimmi Hance and Elise Wagle teamed up to win the doubles title at the ITA Southwest Regional Championship in San Diego, while the combination of Vanessa Ong and Sasha Vagramov took the Dennis Rizza Classic top prize at Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. . Anne -Christine Lutkemeyer, who was the top singles performer at the Women of Troy Invitational, collected a record 11 singles victories. Hance, Ava Catanzarite and Fangran Tian each defeated three nationally ranked opponents. Hance also made the final round in singles at the ITA Southwest Regionals.
The latest ITA National Singles Rankings were released on November 16, 2022 and feature four Bruins in career best positions. Leading the way is Ava Catanzarite, who debuted at No. 42, with Kimmi Hance just behind her at No. 46. Freshmen Fangran Tian (94) and Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer (120) made their career debuts. The tandem of Hance and Elise Wagle moved up to No. 11 on the pairs list after winning the top prize at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships.
2021-22 UNDER REVIEW
The 2021-22 UCLA women’s tennis team went 13-7, finishing second in the Pac-12 with a 7-1 record. The Bruins advanced to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Championship, but were defeated by Oklahoma State in a 4-2 decision in the second round. Elysia Bolton and Abbey Forbes qualified for the NCAA singles draw, while the duo of Bolton and Elise Wagle tied for doubles. Bolton advanced to the second round of singles. Forbes (First Team), Bolton (Second Team) and Kimmi Hance (Honorable Mention) received All-Conference honors from the Pac-12. Forbes was also listed as the recipient of the ITA Southwest Region Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award.
Anne-Christine Lutkemeyer and Fangran Tian make up UCLA’s freshman class. Lutkemeyer (Irvine, Calif.), a Blue Chip recruit according to TennisRecruiting.net, was the No. 1 in her class during 2020 and 2021. She took home the singles championship at the 2021 PTT Newport Beach, California Women’s Hard $25K 2 event. At the junior level, Lutkemeyer collected the girls’ 16 singles crown at the 2018 USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, California. , earning wild card entry into the 2020 Australian Open Junior Championship. She also earned a spot in the 2019 Roland-Garros Junior Championship singles draw.
MARSHALL JOINS COACHING STAFF
A well-known performance coach for many of the world’s top professional tennis players, volunteer assistant coach Rodney Marshall is new to Stella Sampras Webster’s coaching staff in 2022-23. Marshall joined the Bruins after spending the past five years in Orlando, Fla., where she worked with All-Americans Madison Keys, Caty McNally and Alison Riske-Armitraj. He has overseen strength and conditioning, nutrition and injury prevention for Keys, who finished 2022 with a WTA singles ranking of No. 11. From 2009-2018, Marshall served as the lead national strength and conditioning coach for USTA Player Development, the strength and conditioning at the top of the effort for America’s top players out of the National Training Centers in Orlando and Carson, California. He also helped with nutrition, sports medicine and injury prevention. Marshall’s time at the USTA also gave him the opportunity to manage strength and conditioning programs for multiple United States Davis Cup teams under captains Patrick McEnroe and Jim Courier. He has also helped develop a number of American Women’s 100s, including, but not limited to, Claire Liu, Christina McHale, and Sloane Stephens.
BRUINS ON TOUR
Ena Shibahara won her first Grand Slam championship in 2022, teaming up with Wesley Koolhof to capture the mixed doubles title at Roland-Garros. She also recently made her first major women’s doubles final alongside Shuko Aoyama at the 2023 Australian Open. Shibahara climbed to the No. 4 career best in WTA doubles rankings in March 2022. Catherine Harrison also had a standout 2022, making her Grand Slam singles and doubles debut. She progressed through the singles qualifiers at Wimbledon and continued her success with a first-round victory. Harrison and partner Ulrikke Eikeri made a doubles appearance in the second round at Roland-Garros and the pair went on to achieve the same feat at Wimbledon and the US Open. Harrison also collected her first WTA title last year, partnering Sabrina Santamaria to dominate the Monterrey Open in Mexico. The following Bruins in the professional ranks achieved career-high WTA rankings in 2022: Robin Anderson (No. 137 singles and 181 doubles), Harrison (No. 214 singles and 69 doubles), Elysia Bolton (230 doubles), Chanelle van Nguyen (350 singles ) and Jada Hart (489 doubles).
CHAIRPERSON STELLA SAMPRAS WEBSTER
Head Coach Stella Sampras Webster is in her 27th season at the helm of the UCLA women’s tennis program, compiling an impressive overall record of 489-180 (.731). She is the second-longest tenured active coach at UCLA, behind men’s tennis head coach Billy Martin. Sampras Webster has led 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 25 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.