NCAA women's tennis: Stanford and UCLA advance to Final Four

The Pac-12 will comprise half of the semifinals of the NCAA women's tennis championships after Stanford and UCLA recorded quarterfinal victories Sunday in Urbana, Ill., while Cal's season ended in the Elite 8. Semifinal action for both the men's and women's championships takes place Monday with the finals to follow Tuesday.


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If you read the match notes for the impending Stanford-Georgia quarterfinal tussle, you probably sensed that the Stanford sports information office had a good feeling about the Card being able to pull off a second straight upset in Illiniville. Turns out that hunch was pretty correct, because 12th-seeded Stanford made sure there was no barking up the tree in a 4-1 defeat of fourth-seeded Georgia to clinch a berth in the semifinals of the NCAA championships. Despite losing the doubles point for just the third time this season, the Card left nothing to chance once singles play got rollin': Kristie Ahn almost boatraced the higher-ranked Maho Kowase 6-0, 6-1, Ellen Tsay had a much-less dramatic Sunday with her 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Ayaka Okuno. Stacey Tan also won 6-4, 7-5 in No.4 singles. All this left it in the hands of Krista Hardebeck, who fought back from a 2-6 set loss in the first to take the second 6-1, building a lead in the third when Tan went final. The 14th-ranked singles player ended it without much fanfare, defeating Silvia Garcia 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 to allow Stanford to Keep Calm and Tree On:


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"Doubles point, shmoubles point," UCLA women's tennis said as well after knocking off No. 2-ranked North Carolina 4-1 by winning four singles points. While North Carolina took the doubles point with ease on Courts 1 and 3, UCLA swiftly got past the Heels in the top-3 singles matches before Catherine Harrison won her No. 5 singles duel over Lauren McHale 7-5, 5-7, 6-3. Credit must also be given to third-ranked singles player Robin Anderson, Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year Kyle McPhillips and Pamela Montez for putting Harrison in a position to clinch.

As such, the Bruins are into the semifinals to take on third-seeded Texas A&M at 3 p.m. PT Monday with a chance to improve upon last year's NCAA runner-up finish fresh on their minds.


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Cal had a tall task ahead of itself in its quarterfinal matchup. Two-time defending national champion and top-ranked Florida stood between the Golden Bears and a bout with Stanford in the semifinals. Before they took the court, the Oskis got some words of encouragement from the AD:

 

Credit to the Golden Bears for being the first team to take a point off the Gators in the NCAA postseason, but Florida was able to come away with a 4-2 victory over Cal for a date with the Cardinal in the semis. Klara Fabikova and Annie Goransson got Cal out to an early edge in doubles competition, but Florida took Courts 1 and 3 to nab the doubles point. Fifth-ranked singles player Zsofi Susanyi and Fabikova won singles points for the Golden Bears, but the ride came to an end when Caroline Hitimana defeated Goransson 6-3, 6-2 in No. 6 singles. Florida now matches up with Stanford at 3 p.m. PT Monday.