Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stanford's Gibbs sweeps NCAA titles

   For the first time in 27 years, a Stanford woman swept the NCAA women's singles and doubles titles Monday.
   Nicole Gibbs, seeded third, outlasted doubles partner Mallory Burdette, seeded fifth, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in Athens, Ga., after trailing 4-1 and 5-2 in the second set.
   Then, in a match moved indoors because of rain, Burdette and Gibbs defeated Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson of host Georgia 6-2, 6-4. Gullickson, the daughter of former major league pitcher Bill Gullickson and younger sister of touring pro Carly Gullickson, won the 2010 NCAA singles title in Athens.
   Gibbs became the third Cardinal woman to capture both championships in one season. Kathy Jordan won AIAW titles in 1979, and Linda Gates took NCAA crowns in 1985. The last woman at any school to do it was Keri Phebus of UCLA in 1995.
   This was the first time in NCAA men's or women's tennis history that teammates met in the singles final before pairing up in the doubles title match.    
   "Today's probably one of the biggest days in our program's history," Stanford coach Lele Forood told reporters. "It's very exciting, especially because no one's graduating. So, we go forward from here.
   "It's quite an amazing day. It's hard to play your teammate in such a big moment and then to come back and double with them to a title. That's a testament to how mature they both are and that they could do what they had to do today."
   On the men's side, Steve Johnson of USC became the only player to win back-to-back team and singles titles in the same years under the current NCAA Championships format. Johnson, seeded first, beat Kentucky's Eric Quigley, seeded third, 6-4, 6-4 to end his collegiate career with four team titles, two singles crowns and a 72-match winning streak in singles.
  Gibbs, a sophomore from Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area, became the first Stanford woman to win the NCAA singles title since Amber Liu in 2004. Liu, who married International Tennis Hall of Famer Michael Chang in 2008, also took the crown in 2003.
   A Stanford team won the doubles title for the third consecutive year. Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette, Mallory's sister, took first place in 2010, and Barte and Mallory Burdette did the honors last year. Yet another Burdette from Stanford, Erin, won the 2005 NCAA doubles event with Alice Barnes.
   The difference in Monday's singles final was mental toughness.
   The 5-foot-10 Burdette, a junior playing near her home in Jackson, Ga., had not lost more than three games in a set in her five previous singles matches during the tournament. She was in control in the final, too, before Gibbs stormed back.
   "It's always a very tough situation to be playing your teammate," said the 5-foot-6 Gibbs, who extended her winning streak to 17 matches, "and then I got down 6-2, 4-1 to a girl that has been playing incredible tennis, but I just didn't let myself give up from that point. I had worked too hard and come too far in this tournament to just lay down, but at the same time, I got very lucky to turn that match around. I still consider myself very lucky for that win."
   Burdette admitted Gibbs was stronger mentally.
   "I was feeling it a little out there, but I think Nicole is very good at stepping it up when her opponent is about to close things out," Burdette said. "That's her specialty, and she definitely made it tough for me out there in the end. I didn't have the guts to finish it today."
   It was the second consecutive year that Burdette blew a big lead in an NCAA final. She led Lauren Embree of Florida 4-0 in the third set of the deciding match in the team event at Stanford but lost to end the Cardinal's 12-year, 184-match home winning steak.      
   Fish has heart procedure -- American Mardy Fish recently had a medical procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat, the Associated Press reported.
   Fish, who has played only one match since late March because of what he called "fatigue," is recovering at his home in Los Angeles. The top-ranked U.S. man at No. 10 in the world, he hopes to return the week of June 11 for a grass-court tournament in London before Wimbledon.
   Fish is scheduled to play home matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis on July 12 and 13.
   Gold River Challenger -- In a matchup of local wild cards, Tatsiana Kapshai overpowered Kelly Wilson 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of qualifying for the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area.
   Kapshai, a 23-year-old native of Minsk, Belarus, is playing in her first professional tournament after completing her eligibility at Sacramento State this month. She recently won her third consecutive Big Sky Conference MVP award.
   Wilson, a 38-year-old teaching pro at Gold River, reached No. 1 nationally at the University of Texas and No. 192 in the world as a pro in the 1990s.
   See below for Monday's full results and today's order of play.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
In Athens, Ga.
Finals
Men's singles
   Steve Johnson (1), USC, def. Eric Quigley (3), Kentucky, 6-4, 6-4.
Men's doubles
   Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola (1), Ohio State, def. Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar, Texas Tech, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Women's singles
   Nicole Gibbs (3), Stanford, def. Mallory Burdette (5), Stanford, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Women's doubles
   Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs (2), Stanford, def. Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia, 6-2, 6-4.
$50,000 FSP GOLD RIVER WOMEN'S CHALLENGER
At Gold River Racquet Club
Singles qualifying
Second round
   Tatsiana Kapshai, Belarus, def. Kelly Wilson, Cameron Park, 6-3, 6-4. Simone Kalhorn (7), United States, def. Lauren Megale, United States, 6-3, 7-5. Tori Kinard (2), United States, def. Jessica Wacnik, United States, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Sierra Ellison, United States, def. Svetlana Krivencheva, Bulgaria, 6-2, 6-4. Cindy Nguyen, United States, def. Nicole Robinson (3), United States, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. Mary Closs, Menlo Park, def. Alessondra Parra, United States, 6-2, 6-3. Wendy Zhang, Canada, def. Brittany Lashway, United States, 6-2, 6-1. Elizabeth Profit, United States, def. Kyra Wojcik (6), United States, 6-2, 6-2.
Today’s schedule
(Beginning at 10 a.m.)
Stadium Court
   Tatsiana Kapshai, Belarus, vs. Simone Kalhorn, United States. Jessica Pugula (5), United States, vs. Elizabeth Ferris, United States. Breanna Bachini, Roseville, vs. Whitney Jones, United States. Kaitlyn Christian, United States, and Maria Sanchez, Modesto, vs. Svetlana Krivencheva, Bulgaria, and Diana Ospina, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Court 1
   Cindy Nguyen, United States, vs. Mary Closs, Menlo Park. Gabriela Paz (8), Venezuela, vs. Anne-Liz Jeukeng, United States. Sachie Ishizu, Japan, vs. Maria-Fernanda Alves, Brazil.
Court 6
   Tori Kinard, United States, vs. Sierra Ellison, United States. Elizabeth Lumpkin, United States, vs. Kim-Alice Grajdek, Germany. Nadia Echeverria Alam, United States, and Elizabeth Ferris, United States, vs. Asia Muhammed, Las Vegas, and Yasmin Schnack (2), Elk Grove.
Court 7
   Wendy Zhang, Canada, vs. Elizabeth Profit, United States. Jennifer Elie, United States, vs. Chieh-Yu Hsu, United States. Celine Cattaneo, France, vs. Valeria Solovieva (7), Russia. Simone Kalhorn, United States, and Lauren Megale, United States, vs. Lena Litvak, United States, and Adriana Perez, Venezuela.
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).

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