Saturday, May 25, 2013

Defending champ Gibbs moves into NCAA quarters

   Nicole Gibbs of Stanford stayed alive in her quest to repeat as the NCAA women's singles champion.
   Gibbs, seeded 9-16, defeated fourth-seeded Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar of Texas A&M for the second time in three days, 6-4, 6-4 on Friday in the round of 16 in Urbana, Ill. 
   Gibbs had beaten Sanchez-Quintanar 0-6, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 singles on Tuesday in Stanford's 4-3 victory in the NCAA team final. Gibbs won the final 12 games in a row.
   "It was definitely a weird match the last time we played," Gibbs, a 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) junior from Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area, said on gostanford.com. "I didn't really have any expectations coming into this match other than it would be gritty out there. She makes a lot of balls and makes you do some weird things to win points. I think both of us are pretty effective at using the short court and drop shots and slices, so there were a lot of really fun points, really long points, too."
   Gibbs is the only remaining player, man or woman, from a Northern California school in NCAA singles or doubles. Cal sophomore Zsofi Susanyi, seeded fifth, and Stanford freshman Krista Hardebeck, seeded 9-16, lost in the round of 16.
   Gibbs is trying to become the first repeat champion in NCAA women's singles since Stanford's Amber Liu in 2003-04. Liu is married to International Tennis Hall of Famer Michael Chang.
   The last woman to play on the championship team and win the singles crown in the same season was Duke's Mallory Cecil in 2009 at College Station, Texas.
   Gibbs, who won last year's doubles title with Mallory Burdette, lost in the first round of that event this year with Kristie Ahn. Burdette turned pro last September after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open, forgoing her senior year.
   The last man or woman to win the "Triple Crown" -- team, singles and doubles titles -- was Matias Boeker of Georgia in 2001.
   Gibbs is scheduled to face Clemson's Yana Koroleva, a 7-5, 7-6 (6) winner over Susanyi, in the quarterfinals today at 10 a.m. PDT. The match will be streamed live at www.ncaa.com.
   Gibbs beat Koroleva, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) sophomore from Moscow, 6-2, 6-2 in Stanford's 5-2 victory over Clemson on Feb. 23 in Gainesville, Fla.
   Susanyi, who battled injuries this season, earned All-America status for the second straight year by reaching the round of 16. She advanced to last year's semifinals.  
   Hardebeck appeared to run out of gas after helping Stanford capture the team title and winning 6-4 in the third set in the first two rounds of singles. She fell to sixth-seeded Lauren Herring of Georgia 6-0, 6-2.
   In addition to earning All-America honors this season, Hardebeck was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team at No. 3 doubles and to the All-Pacific-12 Conference second team. She also won the deciding match in Stanford's 4-3 victory over two-time defending champion Florida on Monday in the NCAA semifinals.

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