Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stanford's Zhao rallies to gain NCAA final

   It turns out that Carol Zhao plays pretty well from behind, too.
   The Stanford star, seeded second, reeled off the last nine games in her 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over No. 9-16 Josie Kuhlman of Florida today in Waco, Texas, to reach the NCAA singles final.
   Zhao lost only two games in each of her first three matches and won her quarterfinal in straight sets.
   Zhao, a 5-foot-5 (1.65-meter) sophomore from Canada, will play seventh-seeded Jamie Loeb of North Carolina on Monday at 10 a.m. PDT. Loeb, a 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) sophomore from Ossining, N.Y., beat No. 9-16 Stephanie Wagner of Miami 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
   Zhao, ranked No. 289 in the world, will attempt to become the third Cardinal in four years to win the NCAA women's singles title. Nicole Gibbs triumphed in 2012 and 2013; Danielle Collins of Virginia prevailed in 2014.
   Loeb, who eliminated Collins in this year's quarterfinals, reached the quarters in the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger last July.
   San Francisco Bay Area schools could sweep the singles and doubles titles. No. 5-8 seeds Klara Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi of Cal topped No. 5-8 Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan of Florida 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final.
   It's the second straight year that a Cal woman has reached an NCAA final. Lynn Chi lost to Collins last year.
   Fabikova, a junior from the Czech Republic, and Susanyi, a senior from Hungary, will face No. 1 seeds and defending champions Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe of Alabama following the women's singles final.
   Jansen and Routliffe eliminated unseeded Caroline Doyle and Ellen Tsay of Stanford 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. Like Zhao, Routliffe lives in Ontario, Canada. Doyle is from San Francisco and Tsay from Pleasanton.
   Fabikova and Susanyi will attempt to become the first Bears to win the doubles title since Mari Andersson and Jana Juricova in 2009. Juricova also won the 2011 singles crown at Stanford.
   In the men's singles final, seventh-seeded Noah Rubin of Wake Forest will meet eighth-seeded Ryan Shane of NCAA champion Virginia in a rematch of last month's Atlantic Coast Conference final.
   Rubin, a freshman who won the Wimbledon junior boys title last year, beat unseeded Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Virginia 6-4, 6-4. Shane, a junior, outclassed No. 9-16 Quentin Monaghan of Notre Dame 6-4, 6-1.     
   Rubin, a product of the Manhattan-based John McEnroe Tennis Academy along with Loeb, defeated Shane 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the ACC final.
   In an all-Big 12 Conference men's doubles final, Lloyd Glasspool and Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas will face Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares of Texas Tech. Both teams are unseeded.

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