Women’s tennis pursues Pac-12 title

After losing to the Bruins, the Trojans will battle for a shot at the Pac-12 crown.

The Trojans have steadily been ranked within the ITA top 25 this season and boast four ranked singles players and two ranked doubles duos. (Daniel Park / Daily Trojan)

Despite a tough loss in the regular season finale to No. 10 UCLA (17-4, 9-1 Pac-12), No. 11 USC  (17-7, 8-2) looks to embark on its revenge era tour at the final Pac-12 Tennis Championships this week at Weil Tennis Academy and Libbey Park.

There’s no denying the tough road ahead for the Trojans. They are gearing up to face elite competition in which many Pac-12 teams are nationally regarded; The Pac-12 Tournament features four teams in the top 15 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Collegiate Tennis Rankings — No. 11 USC, No. 3 Stanford (19-2, 8-1), No. 9 UC Berkeley (16-5, 8-2) and No. 10 UCLA. Each team intends to be a thorn in the side of the Trojans’ Pac-12 championship aspirations. 

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USC — entering as the third seed for the tournament — is one of three teams given a first-round bye. The Trojans await the winner of sixth-seeded Washington and eleventh-seeded Washington State. 

Success this week will depend on the collective consistency of both the doubles and singles sides. 

In doubles, the No. 18-ranked pair composed of graduate student Eryn Cayetano and sophomore Emma Charney is critical to USC’s success. The duo is the second-highest seed in the Pac-12 behind UCLA’s No.17-ranked pair, sophomore Tian Fangran and junior Elise Wagle, and is 13-10 overall. After dropping the match to Tian-Wagle (6-2), the pair looks to rebound and cast its mark at the championships. 

Juniors Parker Fry and Grace Piper add an admirable one-two punch to benefit the scoreline behind Cayetano-Charney. The duo is ranked No. 60 and boasts a 22-12 overall record this season.

When the Trojans faced the Bruins Friday, Fry-Parker was the only doubles pair to notch a victory, but it wasn’t enough to secure the doubles point for USC. The Trojans faltered in the other two doubles matches, granting UCLA a head start as it transitioned to the singles matches. 

On the singles side, the Trojans want to bounce back from last week and battle it out for the Pac-12 title. 

Charney will take the court for doubles and singles duty. The sophomore is No. 34 in singles and is coming off an upset over No. 21 UCLA junior Kimmi Hance in a thrilling three-setter (3-6, 6-3, 3-6). 

Piper is also one of the players included in both doubles and singles national rankings. The No. 54-ranked junior from England impressed against UCLA. She not only won in the doubles category but was also firmly in control in her match against No. 72 freshman Bianca Fernandez, winning in straight sets (6-2, 6-4). 

Cayetano, ranked No. 79, has a singles record of 22-6. Against UCLA, she came up short following a nail-biting tiebreaker in the third set against Wagle (1-6, 6-2, 7-5), evidently securing the Pac-12 regular season title for UCLA. 

USC will travel to Ojai, California, to compete at Weil Tennis Academy and Libbey Park Wednesday through Saturday in an attempt to win the Pac-12 Championships. 

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