Monday, May 20, 2019

Stanford's Gordon avoids letdown, rolls in NCAA singles

Michaela Gordon, shown on May 5, dominated in the first round of the NCAA
Singles Championships one day after helping Stanford win its second consec-
utive NCAA title. Photo by Mal Taam
   Michaela Gordon easily could have suffered a letdown in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships.
   Instead, the Stanford sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area dominated. 
   Less than 24 hours after helping Stanford win its second consecutive NCAA title, Gordon routed fifth-seeded Makenna Jones of North Carolina 6-2, 6-1 today in Orlando, Fla.
   Gordon, who outlasted Jones 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 two days ago in the team semifinals, has won nine of her last 10 matches. She will face Jada Hart of UCLA.
   Two other Stanford players lost three-set battles. Senior Melissa Lord fell to Paola Delgado of Virginia Commonwealth 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, and junior Emily Arbuthnott came up short against Justina Mikulskyte of Kentucky 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
   Cal women went 1-1. Sophomore Julia Rosenqvist overwhelmed Valeriya Zeleva of Central Florida 6-0, 6-2, but senior Olivia Hauger lost to 2017 NCAA champion Brienne Minor of Michigan 6-1, 6-4. Rosenqvist will take on No. 9-16 seed Anastasia Rychagova of Kansas.
   Texas Tech's Felicity Maltby, a senior from the Bay Area suburb of Sunnyvale, surprised No. 9-16 seed Christina Rosca of Vanderbilt 6-2, 7-5 to set up a match against Aiwen Zhu of UNLV.
   South Carolina's Paige Cline, a senior from Kentfield in the Bay Area seeded No. 9-16, lost to Katarina Stresnakova of Oklahoma State 6-2, 6-4.
   In the men's draw, Stanford freshman Alexandre Rotsaert fell to Emil Reinberg of Georgia 6-2, 7-5. Cardinal sophomore Axel Geller, ranked No. 13 in singles, withdrew from singles and doubles. The reason was not disclosed.
   Florida's Sam Riffice, who grew up in Roseville in the Sacramento region, knocked off No. 9-16 seed Johannes Schretter of Baylor 7-5, 6-2. Riffice, the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, will meet Daniel Cukierman of USC.
   Columbia's Victor Pham, a senior from Saratoga, outplayed Carlos Divar of Georgia Tech 6-2, 6-2. Pham will take on No. 9-16 Yuya Ito, the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA team competition after clinching the title for Texas on Sunday.
   The NCAA Doubles Championships begin Tuesday.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Stanford women rout Georgia for 20th NCAA title

Melissa Lord, shown on May 5, helped No. 3 Stanford beat No. 1 Georgia 4-0
today in the final of the NCAA Championships in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Mal Taam
   The Stanford women emphatically avenged their only loss of the season to win their 20th NCAA team title.
   The No. 3 Cardinal routed No. 1 Georgia 4-0 today at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., for their second consecutive NCAA crown and third in four years.
   Stanford coach Lele Forood matched her predecessor, Frank Brennan, with 10 NCAA titles. No other school approaches the Cardinal's total. Florida ranks second with seven titles, and Georgia is tied for third with three other schools at two.
   The Cardinal (28-1), playing in its fourth straight NCAA final, ended the season with 23 victories in a row. Stanford lost to Georgia 4-3 in the semifinals of the ITA National Indoor Championships in Seattle in February.
   In today's deciding doubles match, No. 29 Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon, a sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat Georgia's Elena Christofi and Vivian Wolff 7-5 on Court 2.
   Three Stanford players followed with 6-2, 6-4 victories. In order, No. 66 Caroline Lampl won on Court 3, No. 29 Melissa Lord triumphed on Court 2, and No. 108 Janice Shin prevailed on Court 5.
   On Court 1, No. 2 Katarina Jokic of Georgia (28-2) led No. 24 Gordon 7-5, 3-2 when the match was abandoned.
   The No. 2 Texas men beat No. 4 Wake Forest, the defending champion, 4-1 for its first NCAA team title.
   Longhorns head coach Michael Center was fired on March 13 amid the college admissions cheating scandal and was replaced on an interim basis by associate head coach Bruce Berque.
   Center has pleaded guilty to fraud after allegedly accepting a $100,000 bribe. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 30. Prosecutors recommend a term of 15 to 21 months.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Stanford women reach fourth consecutive NCAA final

Janice Shin, shown on May 5, and Michaela Gordon won within 11 seconds of
each other to give No. 3 Stanford a 5-2 victory over No. 2 North Carolina today
in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Mal Taam
   A rare double-clinch put the Stanford women in their fourth consecutive NCAA final.
   Michaela Gordon and Janice Shin won within seconds of each other to give the No. 3 Cardinal a 5-2 victory over No. 2 North Carolina today in the NCAA Championships in Orlando, Fla.
   Stanford (27-1), the defending champion, extended its winning streak to 22 matches and ended the Tar Heels' at 24. North Carolina ended the season at 33-2.
   No. 108 Shin, a sophomore from Houston, defeated Jessie Aney 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Court 5 at the USTA National Campus 11 seconds before No. 24 Gordon, a sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, topped No. 5 Makenna Jones 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Court 1. But because both concluding points were in progress simultaneously, Shin and Gordon were credited with clinching victories, according to gostanford.com.
   Shin improved to 7-0 in the NCAA Championships, and Gordon defeated the highest-ranked player of her career. However, Caroline Lampl's winning streak ended at 23 matches on Court 3.
   No. 20 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon lost to No. 12 Jones and Cameron Morra 6-4, but Stanford won the doubles point. No. 29 Melissa Lord made it 2-0 with her 100th career singles victory, 6-1, 6-3 over No. 7 Alexa Graham on Court 2. No. 119 Sara Choy, a late substitution as a freshman from Palo Alto, increased the lead to 3-0 with a 7-5, 6-1 decision over Alle Sanford on Court 6.
   North Carolina rallied for 3-2 before falling short.
   Stanford will seek its third NCAA title in four years when it faces No. 1 Georgia on Sunday not before 2 p.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). The Bulldogs (28-1) beat No. 5 Duke 4-2.
   Georgia edged Stanford 4-3 on Feb. 11 in the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
   Stanford leads all schools with 19 of a possible 37 NCAA titles. Florida ranks second with seven, and Georgia is tied for third with three other schools at two.
   This will be Georgia's fourth NCAA final, all against Stanford. The Cardinal won in 1987, but the Bulldogs prevailed in 1994 and 2000.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Stanford women beat Pepperdine in NCAA quarters

Emily Arbuthnott, shown on May 5, clinched No. 3 Stanford's 4-1 victory over No. 6
Pepperdine today in the NCAA Championships in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Mal Taam
   After losing the doubles point, the No. 3 Stanford women won four consecutive singles matches to defeat No. 6 Pepperdine 4-1 today in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Orlando, Fla.
   It's the fifth time this season that the Cardinal (26-1) has triumphed after losing the doubles point, according to gostanford.com. In fact, Stanford has won 20 of 25 matches after trailing 1-0 since 2016.
   Pepperdine (24-4) won both completed doubles matches at the USTA National Campus. No. 86 Daria Kuczer and Ashley Lahey beat No. 29 Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon, a sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-4 to clinch the point.
   Defending champion Stanford then received straight-set victories from, in order, No. 108 Janice Shin on Court 5, No. 107 Emma Higuchi on Court 6, No. 29 Melissa Lord on Court 2 and No. 44 Arbuthnott on Court 4. Lord, a senior from Bloomfield, Conn., earned her 99th career singles victory.
   No. 37 Lahey, last year's NCAA singles runner-up, led No. 24 Gordon 6-4, 2-6, 2-0 on Court 1 when the match was abandoned.
   Stanford will face an even hotter team than itself when it meets No. 2 North Carolina (33-1) on Saturday at 11 a.m. PDT. The Tar Heels, who have lost to the Cardinal in the NCAA Championships for the past two years, defeated No. 7 UCLA 4-1 for their 24th straight win.
   In Saturday's other semifinal, No. 1 Georgia (27-1) will play No. 5 Duke (27-3) at 3 p.m.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Gibbs to have cancer surgery, eyes quick return

Nicole Gibbs, left, and Sofia Kenin pose after the final
of the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge last July.
Kenin won 6-0, 6-4. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Nicole Gibbs tweeted Sunday that she will have surgery for salivary gland cancer on Friday in Los Angeles and miss the rest of the clay-court season.
   But the 26-year-old former Stanford star hopes to return for Wimbledon qualifying, June 25-27.
   According to Gibbs, her dentist noticed a growth on the roof of her mouth about a month ago and the biopsy came back positive.
   "Fortunately, this form of cancer has a great prognosis and my surgeon is confident that surgery alone will be sufficient treatment," wrote Gibbs, a resident of Venice in the Los Angeles area. "He even okayed me to play an extra couple of tournaments these past few weeks which served as a nice distraction."
   Added Gibbs: "I am feeling extremely grateful for the UCLA health network that's been taking amazing care of me, and for rock solid friends and family who are helping me every step of the way. See you back on court soon."
   A petite 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters), Gibbs is ranked No. 117 after reaching a career-high No. 68 in July 2016. She won two NCAA titles in singles and one in doubles before turning pro one year early in 2013.
   Gibbs has battled depression since high school but said last July in Berkeley that she was "doing awesome."
   Gibbs reached the singles final of the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge, losing to Sofia Kenin, and won the doubles title with Asia Muhammad.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Cal, Stanford men lose to high seeds in NCAA tourney

   Playing at top-five seeds in the NCAA Super Regionals proved to be too much for the Stanford and Cal men.
   No. 2 Texas routed the Bears 4-0 in Austin, Texas, and No. 5 Virginia beat No. 12 Stanford 4-2 in Charlottesville, Va. The Longhorns (26-3) and Cavaliers (24-4) advance to Thursday's quarterfinals in Orlando, Fla.
   For the first time, no Pac-12 men's team reached the NCAA quarters.
   No. 7 Christian Sigsgaard gave Texas a 3-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Yuta Kikuchi, the Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, on Court 1.
   Cal's Paul Barretto, a sophomore from Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area, did not finish either of his matches as the Bears fell to 16-13. Colin Markes and Leonardo Telles led Barretto and Can Kaya 5-3 on Court 2, and Barretto was ahead of No. 80 Telles 6-6 (5-4) on Court 3.
   Virginia, which won four of five NCAA titles from 2013 through 2017, earned the doubles point. But Sameer Kumar and Timothy Sah gave Stanford (19-7) a 2-1 lead with straight-set victories on Court 4 and 5, respectively.
   No. 3 Carl Soderlund clinched the win for the Cavaliers, beating No. 13 Axel Geller 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 on Court 1.
   Stanford and Cal will turn their attention to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, May 20-25 in Orlando.
   Geller is seeded 9-16 in singles and unseeded in doubles with freshman Alexandre Rotsaert. Kikuchi and sophomore Jacob Brumm also are unseeded in doubles. 
   Tennis Channel will televise the remainder of the team competition as well as the singles and doubles tournaments.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Stanford women edge Kansas, gain NCAA quarters

Janice Shin, shown Sunday against Syracuse, gave third seed and host Stanford
a 4-3 victory over 14th-seeded Kansas today in an NCAA Super Regional.
Photo by Mal Taam
   The third-seeded Stanford women edged 14th-seeded Kansas 4-3 today at Taube Family Tennis Stadium to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
   Janice Shin, a sophomore from Houston ranked No. 108, defeated Nina Khmelnitckaia 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Court 5 to lift the defending champion Cardinal (25-1) to its 20th consecutive victory.
   No. 13 Anastasia Rychagova of Kansas (21-5) leveled the match at 3-3 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 24 Michaela Gordon, a sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, on Court 1.
   The Jayhawks, who won the doubles point, were making their first appearance in the round of 16 since 1998.
   Stanford will face sixth-seeded Pepperdine (24-3) next Friday at a time to be determined at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. The Waves beat Central Florida 4-2 in Malibu, Calif.
   It will be the first meeting between Stanford and Pepperdine this season.
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