Monday, May 28, 2012

Stanford dominates NCAAs; Gold River stunner

   For the first time in eight years, a Stanford player will win the NCAA women's singles title.
   Cardinal doubles partners Nicole Gibbs and Mallory Burdette will meet today at 9 a.m. PDT in Athens, Ga., for the crown. Video streaming is available at www.georgiadogs.com.
   It will be the first all-Stanford women's final since 2001, when Laura Granville beat Lauren Kalvaria 6-3, 7-6 (1) in Stone Mountain, Ga.
   The last Cardinal woman to win the title was Amber Liu, who captured her second straight in 2004. Liu married Michael Chang, an International Tennis Hall of Famer, in 2008. They have a daughter who will be 2 in December.   Gibbs, seeded third, toppled No. 1 seed Allie Will of Florida 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 Sunday, and Burdette, seeded fifth, cruised past No. 9-16 seed Zsofi Susanyi of Cal 6-2, 6-2.
   In the men's semifinals, top-seeded Steve Johnson of USC defeated unseeded Bradley Klahn of Stanford 6-4, 7-5 in a matchup of the last two NCAA champions.
   Johnson, who extended his winning streak to 71 matches, will try to win his second straight title when he faces third-seeded Eric Quigley of Kentucky today at 9 a.m. Quigley edged No. 9-16 seed Blaz Rola of Ohio State 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1).
   Burdette, a 5-foot-10 junior from nearby Jackson, Ga., has not lost more than three games in a set in her five victories. She has knocked off three Pacific-12 Conference rivals, plus second-seeded Beatrice Capra of Duke. Capra reached the third round of the 2010 U.S. Open as an 18-year-old wild card.
   Gibbs, a 5-foot-6 sophomore from the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, nipped Burdette 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in the final of the ITA Northwest Regional Championships at Stanford last October. It was their only meeting this season.
   Burdette and Gibbs also reached today's NCAA doubles final. Seeded second, they beat Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely of Tennessee 7-6 (1), 6-1 to set up a meeting with Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson of host Georgia.     
   See below for full singles and doubles results of Stanford and Cal players in the NCAA Championships.
   Stanford's Thacher honored -- Stanford's Ryan Thacher received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship. Thacher and Klahn, senior co-captains, reached the NCAA doubles semifinals in 2010, final in 2011 and quarterfinals this year.
   Thacher, a history major with a 3.91 grade-point average, plans to become a pediatric surgeon or trauma specialist after playing professional tennis.
   Gold River Challenger -- Wild card Kelly (Pace) Wilson, a 38-year-old teaching professional playing at her home club, stunned top-seeded Nadia Echeverria Alam, a 17-year-old pro player from Miami, 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 in the first round of qualifying for the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger.
Kelly Wilson, a 38-year-old teaching pro playing at her
home club, slugs a forehand during her victory over
top-seeded Nadia Echeverria Alam, 17, of Miami in the
first round of qualifying at the $50,000 FSP Gold River
Women's Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman

   The tournament is being held at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area through Sunday.
   The Venezuela-born Echeverria Alam, ranked No. 867 in the world, struggled with nerves in the first and third sets. Wilson, 5-foot-8 and slightly built, also frustrated her with slices and changes of speed.
   "I started laughing to myself, saying, 'She must be thinking, I've only seen people play like this on Tennis Channel Classic,' " said Wilson, who reached No. 1 nationally at the University of Texas and No. 192 in the world 1990s. "Without a doubt, I was not going to play a style she was comfortable with. There's no doubt she can hit with a lot more power. Knowing a lot of these players play with one speed, I was going to make sure each speed was different than the previous ball."
   Wilson will play Tatsiana Kapshai of Belarus today after a 1 p.m. match on the Stadium Court. Kapshai, making her pro debut after winning three straight Big Sky Conference MVP awards at Sacramento State, beat 17-year-old wild card Tori Trylovich of nearby El Dorado Hills 6-4, 6-1.
   Wild card Jessica-Mariama Josiah of Sacramento lost to Jessica Wacnik, a sophomore-to-be at Boston College from Orlando Park, Ill., 6-3, 6-4.
TV SCHEDULE
(All Times PDT)
   Today-Friday -- French Open, early rounds, ESPN2, 2-7 a.m. (live); Tennis Channel, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. (live), 4-7 p.m. (French Open Tonight). 
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
In Athens, Ga.
Semifinals
Men's singles
   Steve Johnson (1), USC, def. Bradley Klahn, Stanford, 6-4, 7-5. Eric Quigley (3), Kentucky, def. Blaz Rola (9-16), Ohio State, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1).
Men's doubles
   Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola (1), Ohio State, def. Costin Paval and Dane Webb, Oklahoma, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar, Texas Tech, def. Chris Thiemann and Marcel Thiemann, Mississippi, 6-4, 6-2. 
Women's singles
   Nicole Gibbs (3), Stanford, def. Allie Will (1), Florida, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Mallory Burdette (5), Stanford, def. Zsofi Susanyi (9-16), Cal, 6-2, 6-2. 
Women's doubles
   Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia, def. Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez, UCLA, 7-6 (5), 6-4. Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs (2), Stanford, def. Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely, Tennessee, 7-6 (1), 6-1.      
PRO RANKINGS
   Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 3 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 3 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mardy Fish, Sacramento Capitals (2012) of World TeamTennis -- No. 10 in singles (no change), No. 730 in doubles (-6).
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- No. 92 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mark Knowles, Capitals (2001-07, 2009-12), three-time World TeamTennis Male MVP (2001, 2005 and 2007) -- No. 83 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 38 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 349 in singles (-8), unranked in doubles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native, Capitals (2012) -- No. 71 in singles (no change), No. 61 in doubles (no change).
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 88 in singles (-1), No. 209 in doubles (+33).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 193 in singles (-1), No. 383 in doubles (-2).
   Pedro Zerbini, All-Pacific-10 Conference first team at Cal (2009-11) -- No. 675 in singles (+10), No. 1,414 in doubles (-17).
Women
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 25 in doubles (-1), No. 727 in singles (-2).
   Asia Muhammed, Capitals (2012) -- No. 198 in doubles (-2), No. 478 in singles (-9).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 150 in doubles (-4), No. 287 in singles (-4).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Capitals (2011-12) -- No. 152 in doubles (-4), No. 399 in singles (-5).
   Romana Tedjakusuma, Tracy resident -- No. 736 in singles (-4), unranked in doubles.
   CoCo Vandeweghe, Capitals (2009, 2012) -- No. 157 in singles (-1), No. 294 in doubles (-3).

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