NCAA women's tennis: Stanford edges USC in five-hour classic; Cal and UCLA also advance

Talk about a looooooonng day for the folks in Urbana, Ill. Stanford and Cal took a combined nine hours to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships with Round of 16 victories Friday, while UCLA didn't get on the court until 11:25 p.m. local time, more than four hours after its scheduled start with Michigan. Eventually, the Bruins joined the Cardinal and Golden Bears in the Elite 8 of women's tennis, giving the Pac-12 three teams in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

[Related: Live stats, interactive brackets and more at NCAA.com]


Cal got things started off right with a 4-1 victory over Alabama, but that doesn't mean it was a blowout: It took Cal more than four hours to knock off the Crimson tide. Plus, the Tide pulled out to the early lead after taking the doubles point. Cal would take four hard-fought singles points to advance, including two finished matches that went three sets. Anett Schutting did not partake in such a three-setter, taking down Mary Anne Macfarlane 6-3, 7-6(1) in the No. 1 singles match. Fifth-ranked singles player Zsofi Susanyi clinched it for Cal by knocking off Maya Jansen 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to put the Golden Bears into a quarterfinal matchup with top-seeded Florida. Senior (and San Jose native) Tayler Davis appreciated the effort her teammates put forth:

The Gators have won the last two national championships, but I'm sure ITA Regional Coach of the Year Amanda Augustus will have a plan up her sleeve...

[Related: Follow @CalWomensTennis]


Thought it couldn't get any more grueling than four hours? When it was all said and done, 12th-seeded Stanford beat fifth-seeded USC 4-3 in a five-hour epic for the ages. As you could imagine, this one did not lack for drama. The proceedings got kicked off with an intense doubles point going the way of the Card; it was decided by a 9-8(2) Kristie Ahn/Nicole Gibbs triumph over Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, the No. 2-ranked doubles team in the country. Pretty good accomplishment for the Card:

 

[Related: Follow @StanfordWTennis]


The point would prove pivotal in the end, but not before a few more hours of top-notch tennis between a couple of seeded teams. Stanford inched out to a 3-1 lead after Gibbs took down Santamaria in No. 1 singles (7-6(3), 6-2), but the Women of Troy kept the pressure on with singles victories from Zoë Scandalis and Danielle Lao, who defeated Kristie Ahn in a thrilling three-set match that wasn't decided until Lao posted a 7-5 edge in the third. That brought it all down to another three-set match, this one between Stanford's Ellen Tsay and USC's Gabriella DeSimone. It wasn't until Ellen won 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 that the Card could breathe a Tsay of relief. In case you haven't noticed, there's a pretty big rivalry between these schools across multiple sports right now (women's water polo and football to name a couple of others), so The Farm was pretty happy when this match went final:

The Women of Troy fought valiantly in defeat and finished their season at 23-3. Stanford moves on to square off against fourth-seeded Georgia Sunday at 10 a.m. PT. A chance now for the Card to get some revenge for the women's basketball team, which lost to the Lady Bulldogs in the Sweet 16 this spring.

Seventh-seeded UCLA didn't need nearly as long as Stanford and Cal did, swiftly eliminating 10th-seeded Michigan 4-0. The Wolverines made the Bruins earn the doubles point, which needed all three matches to determine first blood. However, it was all Bru Cru from there, as Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year Kyle McPhillips, third-ranked singles player Robin Anderson and Courtney Dolehide all took care of their singles matches in two sets, never yielding more than four games in any of 'em. The wait up to the match was long and frustrating, but UCLA finally was able to move on the the quarterfinals, where they will face No. 2-seeded North Carolina at 2 p.m. PT Sunday. Of course, that's provided Stanford-Georgia and Florida-California finish on time. So in other words, the Bruins should be able to get on the court before Memorial Day.

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