Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Fourth-year Triton Chloe Wight fought off two match points and rallied to win a third-set tiebreak in Friday's decider.

Glimpse Into the Future! No. 39 UC San Diego Edges Big West's UC Davis, 4-3, Through Wight's Tiebreak Triumph

UC San Diego

DAVIS, Calif. - Chloe Wight's dramatic third-set tiebreak victory gave No. 39 University of California San Diego an impressive 4-3 triumph over future Division I and Big West Conference foe UC Davis at the Marya Welch Tennis Center on Friday.

With a fourth straight victory, all coming over a five-day span this week during Spring Break, UC San Diego improved to 8-5. UC Davis lost a second in a row and fell to 4-11. The Tritons wrap up their Northern California trip at 3-0, having blanked Division II West Region opponents Holy Names and Dominican the previous two days. They thus remain a perfect 3-0 on the road in 2019. UC San Diego previously lost to UC Davis at home in La Jolla in both 2018 (5-2) and 2016 (7-2).

The Tritons are joining the Aggies in the Big West for the 2021 dual-match season. They have now matched their longest win streak of the current campaign.

"I'm so proud of the team's fight and will to win!," exclaimed 40th-year UC San Diego head coach Liz LaPlante. "We knew we had nothing to lose, so I wanted everyone to play loose and show their confidence, and they all showed that. We really outplayed them at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, so it was crucial getting the doubles point. I'm hoping this will help with our confidence heading into our next couple weeks of Division II matches. Go Tritons!"

Wight, a fourth-year Triton out of Santa Monica who is expected to utilize her fourth season of eligibility in 2020, trailed 2-5 in the third set of her tilt at No. 4 singles against Kristina Breisacher. She also faced two match points at 30-40. Wight won the next two points, with no-ad scoring in college tennis, to stay alive, before dragging the contest into a tiebreak at 6-6. There, she dominated Breisacher to the tune of a 7-0 shutout to break the 3-3 deadlock in the match and earn a 4-3 win.

With singles thus split evenly at 3-3, the doubles point at the start of the day proved crucial for LaPlante's club. Ashley Chao (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) and Becky Chou were beaten 6-1 at No. 1 for starters by Kelsie Bryant and Sara Tsukamoto, but the Tritons persevered.

Wight and true freshman Shweta Kumar then dispatched Breisacher and Jessica Walker, 6-2, at No. 3, and fourth-year tandem Madison Hale and Alexandra Weil stole the point with a 6-4 decision at No. 2 over Shirley Hall and Nikita Pradeep. Hale and Weil are now winners of five in a row, and are 9-2 together in 2019.

Tsukamoto evened matters at 1-1 with a straight-set, 6-4, 6-1, victory over Weil at No. 2 singles, and the Aggies surged ahead as Bryant narrowly got by true freshman Anu Bhadada (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) at No. 6, 7-5, 6-4.

Kumar pulled UC San Diego level again at No. 5 through an ever-so-close second-set tiebreak, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6), against Walker. Chou gave the Tritons the lead back with a three-setter at No. 3 over Hall, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Pradeep outlasted Chao at No. 1 to make it 3-3, with scores of 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

That put all the focus on Wight on the No. 4 court, and she was justifiably emotional after completing her improbable fightback. She had won the initial set in a tiebreak as well, 7-6 (7-4), with Breisacher nabbing the second, 6-2.

The marathon match began about 15 minutes later than the scheduled start time of 10 a.m. due to wet courts, and took well over three hours to play.

Friday's result was even that much more impressive given that for the second time on this road trip, Valeria Corral (San Diego/Mater Dei Catholic HS) was unavailable. The junior currently boasts the team's best win streak of 2019, at seven consecutive singles victories at No. 4. Wight is now 2-0 at No. 4 in Corral's absence.

Friday marked UC San Diego's first win over UC Davis since a 5-4 decision in La Jolla on Feb. 13, 2005. The Tritons went 0-9 against the Aggies since then, losing in Davis for five straight years between 2007-11, and again in 2015, with the closest score being 6-1 in four of those six meetings. UC San Diego later fell to UC Davis at home in La Jolla in 2014 (8-1), 2016 (7-2) and 2018 (5-2).

That 2005 matchup, ironically, also came down to a third-set tiebreak at No. 4 singles. Due to UC Davis travel constraints, a super tiebreaker was employed, with Triton Tara Siddiqui rallying from a set down to defeat Kaitlin Callan, 3-6, 6-3, 10-2.

UC San Diego returns home on Friday night, and continues a season-long five-match road stretch at 16th-ranked Division II West Region rival Azusa Pacific next Saturday, April 6. The match at the Munson and Bavougian Tennis Complex in Azusa begins at 1:30 p.m.

#39 UC San Diego 4, UC Davis 3
March 29, 2019 at Davis, CA (Marya Welch Tennis Center)

Doubles competition
1. Sara Tsukamoto/Kelsie Bryant (UCD) def. Becky Chou/Ashley Chao (UCSD) 6-1
2. Alexandra Weil/Madison Hale (UCSD) def. Shirley Hall/Nikita Pradeep (UCD) 6-4
3. Chloe Wight/Shweta Kumar (UCSD) def. Kristina Breisacher/Jessica Walker (UCD) 6-2

Singles competition
1. Nikita Pradeep (UCD) def. Ashley Chao (UCSD) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
2. Sara Tsukamoto (UCD) def. Alexandra Weil (UCSD) 6-4, 6-1
3. Becky Chou (UCSD) def. Shirley Hall (UCD) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
4. Chloe Wight (UCSD) def. Kristina Breisacher (UCD) 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-6 (7-0)
5. Shweta Kumar (UCSD) def. Jessica Walker (UCD) 6-1, 7-6 (8-6)
6. Kelsie Bryant (UCD) def. Anu Bhadada (UCSD) 7-5, 6-4

Match Notes
UC San Diego 8-5; National ranking #39; Regional ranking #4
UC Davis 4-11
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,6,5,3,1,4)
T-3:40 A-50

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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