Gators Advance to NCAA Tennis Quarterfinals with 4-0 win against Duke
URBANA, Ill. - Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) posted straight-set singles wins and helped top-seeded Florida blank No. 15 Duke, 4-0, and march into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships played at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.
The injury-plagued Blue Devils reached the round of 16 with just five players because of injury, but in the end were no match for the Gators after having to forfeit the No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles positions meaning Florida needed just one win on either of the doubles courts and two singles victories to capture the dual match.
The Gators did just that.
"If anyone can appreciated what Duke did this year, getting here with four players, it's (assistant coach) Dave (Balogh) and me," said UF head coach Roland Thornqvist, who was in a near identical situation in 2009 and took the Gators to the round of 16 before bowing out of the NCAA Championships. "It's a remarkable feat on their part to get to the round of 16, and they gave us all we could handle on the courts. Where they could be competitive, there were really, really competitive. You have to really appreciate what they did."
The No. 11-ranked team of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) earned an 8-1 victory on court one against Mary Clayton and Hanna Mar in 32 minutes and Florida took the doubles point for the 17th time this season.
As Duke (16-10) forfeited the No. 6 singles spot, the Gators had a quick 2-0 lead before a point was played on any of the singles courts.
Georgia Beats Clemson, Advances to Quarters
URBANA, Ill.—The fourth-seeded Georgia women’s tennis team beat the 13th seeded Clemson Tigers 4-2 Friday afternoon at the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals. The Bulldogs (24-3) will take on the winner of Southern California and Stanford on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
This will be Georgia’s 21st quarterfinal appearance in program history.
“It was a great match,” said head coach Jeff Wallace. “I thought Clemson played the best doubles point against us of the season. I was really impressed with how we responded in singles. I knew [after the break] that our players were ready to give it everything that they had. We got off to good starts on pretty much every court and I felt like our players fought hard and kept their composure.
Georgia was able to overcome only its third lost doubles point of the season with a strong performance in singles.
In doubles, the nation’s top-ranked pair of Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia dropped only their third match of the season, falling to Yana Koroleva and Beatrice Gumulya, 8-3. Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase evened the doubles point with an 8-3 win over Romy Koelzer and Tristen Dewar, but Tigers’ clinched the doubles point when Liz Jeukeng and Ani Miao beat Lilly Kimbell and Mia King, 8-1.
Herring, ranked sixth in the country, dropped a 6-2, 6-0 decision to No. 16 Yana Koroleva. The loss snaps Herring’s eight match winning streak. Shortly after, Fuller beat Romy Koelzer, 6-4, 6-1. The win is Fuller’s third in a row and 31st of the season. No. 104 Garcia evened the score with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 40 Gumulya, handing Gumulya her first loss since March 3rd. Garcia also avenged a two-set loss to Gumulya in February. King put Georgia up 3-2, outlasting Tristen Dewar, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. The win is King’s fifth in a row. Kowase, ranked 19th in the country, punched Georgia’s ticket to the quarterfinals, winning a tightly contested 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2). Kowase was broken to being the set, but fought back and got two consecutive breaks to seal victory.
“I’m so happy to get the win [for the team],” Kowase said. “We fought so hard today and I think it really showed that we wanted it.”
Georgia is playing in its 27th consecutive NCAA Tournament, and now owns a 67-24 all-time record. The Bulldogs are aiming for their 11th National Semifinal appearance, and their first since 2009.
Tide Comes up Short Against California in the NCAA Round of 16, 4-1
URBANA, Ill. – The ninth-seeded Alabama women’s tennis team fell to No. 8 California in the NCAA Championship Round of 16, 4-1, on Friday at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Illinois. With the loss, the Crimson Tide finishes the season at 21-6, while the Golden Bears advance to the quarterfinals with a 19-5 record.
“I’m really proud of this team” said Alabama head coach Jenny Mainz. “We did what we’ve done so well all year. We fought. The distance that we’ve come since the fall is incredible. I think we left it all out there and certainly had our chances. With a team like Cal, they’ve been here, so if you give them that little opening they are going to take it. I think this was a great learning experience for us.”
Alabama took a 1-0 lead following doubles, winning the matches on courts one and three. The Tide’s seventh-ranked duo of Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane picked up an early break to lead 4-3 and never looked back eventually claiming the match, 8-5, over Cal’s 33rd-ranked team of Anett Shutting and Lynn Chi. Shortly after, Alabama’s Natalia Maynetto and Emily Zabor would serve for the win, taking the match, 8-4, against the Bears’ Tayler Davis and Kelly Chui.
“That was the best doubles point we’ve played all season,” said Mainz. “To play it on May 17, that deliberately and that decisively, is a testament to the improvement of the girls on the team.”
In singles, Cal picked up its first victory on court two where 36th-ranked Guarachi played a dominant second set, but the Bears’ Klara Fabikova, ranked 43rd, would take the match in three sets, 6-2, 0-6, 6-3. From there, No. 70 Chi made it a 2-0 lead for Cal, winning 7-6(1), 6-0 on court four over Antonia Foehse. No. 34 Macfarlane battled in a tough second set but came up just short of pushing the match to a third, falling 6-3, 7-6(1) to eighth-ranked Schutting on court one.
Despite being down, 3-1, the Tide’s three remaining singles players fought to keep Alabama alive coming back after dropping first sets on two of those courts to send it to a third. It appeared the Tide would get a win on court five with Maynetto leading 5-1 in her third set over Davis, however, the Bears’ fifth-ranked player of Zsofi Susanyi clinched the win just before for Cal with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory against 118th-ranked Maya Jansen.
“We are very pleased that we got here, and it’s been a great season, but the bar has been raised,” added Mainz. “This is the standard we want to play with, and we want to be competing deep into May as a team every season. I believe in this team, and I think we are good enough. It’s been a year of a lot of first, and that is a tribute to this team and everyone’s commitment.”
Texas A&M Advances to Quarterfinals with 5-0 Victory over UVA
URBANA, Ill. – No. 3-seeded Texas A&M will make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals after defeating No. 14 seed Virginia, 5-0, in the round of 16 today at the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex.
The Aggies, who improve to 24-3 to tie the 2004 squad for the most wins in school history, will play either No. 6 seed Miami or No. 11 seed Northwestern, Sunday at 4 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
“It feels really great, not even looking at the content of the match per se, but just the fact that it is the first time we have managed to get to the Elite Eight and get a win at the final site,” A&M second-year head coach Howard Joffe said. “I’m just really happy for each person as an individual, I’m happy for our group, and I’m obviously very happy for the university, because it is a great thing for Texas A&M athletics.”
A&M was playing in the round of 16 for only the second time in school history, having made its only other appearance in 2004. Virginia (19-10) was making its third consecutive NCAA Round of 16 appearance, and both teams were aiming to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time. The match marked the third time the teams had ever met, with A&M having defeated the Cavaliers in the two previous meetings earlier this season.
The match began with A&M twin sisters Ines and Paula Deheza giving the Aggies the early advantage in the race for the doubles point as they broke away from a 2-2 tie to defeat Maria Fucillo and Li Xi, 8-3, at the No. 3 line. It was the eighth consecutive victory for the Aggie duo, which improves to 18-5 in dual matches.
A&M clinched the doubles point at the No. 1 line, but it wasn’t easy. The Aggies’ 18th-ranked pair of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu was up a break at 7-6 with triple match point against Stephanie Nauta and Erin Vierra. The Cavaliers fought back to break A&M and even the match at 7-7. A&M broke back to go up, 8-7, and then held to win, 9-7, to put the Aggies ahead, 1-0.
A&M’s 49th-ranked team of Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun had jumped out to a 4-1 lead and were winning 7-4 against Julia Elbaba and Hana Tomljanovic at No. 2 when play was stopped.
“It was definitely a strange match because at the very beginning we were a little bit down and then we got in some commanding positions only to sort of falter,” Joffe said. “We had three match points at 7-6 for Stancu and Hristov, but we were able to sort of not let it freak us out and get going. The doubles point absolutely helped a lot.”
A&M had the momentum early in singles, winning the first set on five of six courts. However, three of six matches had gone to a third set when the overall victory was clinched.
“Every team that is here has just competed so much that there is a certain amount of parity,” Joffe said. “So the thing that I was really proud about today, I didn’t see us beating them in all six positions easy, but when the clock was stopped, we had won four of the courts in singles, and Anna [Mamalat] was up on her court. That’s very good when a lot of the matches were nip and tuck.”
Ines Deheza gave the Aggies a 2-0 lead after cruising to a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Xi at the No. 4 line. With the win, the freshman improved to 14-1 over her last 15 decisions.
Nazari Urbina, ranked No. 52 in the nation in singles, gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead and posted the 99th win of her four-year singles career with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Tomljanovic at the No. 3 line.
Although A&M built the 3-0 lead, Virginia was holding its own on the remaining four courts. Nauta, ranked 78th, had earned a split with 68th-ranked Stancu at No 2, and Caryssa Peretz also had forced a third set against Hristov at No. 6. In addition, A&M’s Anna Mamalat had made a nice comeback at No. 5 against Vierra to force a third set.
Meanwhile, fourth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar had battled to a hard-fought 7-5 first-set victory over 12th-ranked Elbaba at the No. 1 line. After pulling off the first-set win, Sanchez-Quintanar took command in the second set, jumping out to a 5-0 lead.
A&M eventually gained the lead on all of the remaining courts. Stancu and Sanchez-Quintanar were both at match point on their respective courts, and in a bang-bang finish, Stancu topped Nauta, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, and Sanchez-Quintanar defeated Elbaba, 7-5, 6-2, for the 5-0 victory, sending the Aggies to the next round.
After dropping her first set, 6-2, Mamalat, playing the No. 5 line for only the second time this season, won her second set, 6-2, and led, 4-1, in the third set against Vierra. In addition Hristov was up, 6-1, 3-6, 5-2, over Peretz at No. 6.
“It was a great job for Anna,” Joffe added. “I’m so happy for her. She got a well-deserved opportunity, and she really did a great job. In the context of the match, a lot of the matches had split. The fact that Anna had lost the first and she was able to split, gives the team a little bit more insurance, so I’m really proud of her and her effort.”