NCAA women's tennis: Stanford's Zhao, Cal's Fabikova/Susanyi on to finals

Stanford sophomore Carol Zhao is on to the singles final and Cal’s junior-senior combo of Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi is heading to the doubles final at the NCAA women’s tennis individual championships in Waco, Texas.  The Pac-12 is the only conference to have a representative in both the singles and doubles finals, both of which will be contested Monday.

With wins by Zhao and Fabikova/Susanyi, the Pac-12 would claim its 28th national singles title (19th NCAA) and 22nd NCAA doubles crown, the most of any conference for women’s tennis on both fronts.


Klara Fabikova/Zsofi Susanyi rallied back in a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Florida’s Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan. After losing the first set, the Golden Bear duo took four of the first five games in the second set to gain the upper hand and eventually force a third set. Tied 4-4 in the third, Fabikova/Susanyi broke the serve of Austin/Keegan and took the match on serve.

Despite having a storied doubles history that includes three consecutive NCAA doubles titles at the turn of the century and five doubles rings in a 12-year stretch (accounting for all five NCAA doubles titles), this is the first time Cal has sent a tandem to the finals since 2009, when Mari Andersson/Jana Juricova won it all.

Pac-12 duos won six consecutive NCAA doubles titles from 2008-13 before Alabama’s Maya Jansen/Erin Routliffe took home the crown in 2014. Standing in the way of Fabikova/Susanyi for the doubles title in 2015? You guessed it – Alabama’s Maya Jansen/Erin Routliffe.


Carol Zhao rattled off the final nine games of her semifinal matchup with No. 9-16 seed Josie Kuhlman to complete the comeback and eliminate the Florida Gator 2-6, 6-4, 6-0. The second-seeded Zhao will face seventh-seeded Jamie Loeb in Monday’s singles final. After dropping the first set and falling behind 4-3 in the second, Zhao did not concede another game, clinching her spot in the finals on a volley at the net.

Zhao’s victory over Kuhlman was a bit of revenge for the Conference of Champions, as Kuhlman had eliminated two Pac-12ers – UCLA’s Kyle McPhillips and Cal’s Maegan Manasse – en route to the semis. Zhao has a chance to be the 17th national singles champion in Stanford women’s tennis history (15 NCAA if she wins Monday, two non-NCAA).

Pac-12 women’s tennis players have won three of the last four NCAA singles titles, with Cal’s Jana Juricova winning in 2011 and Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs going back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. Juricova and Lynn Chi (also of Cal) also made finals appearances in 2010 and 2014, respectively.

Unfortunately for head coach Lele Forood and Co., the good vibes didn’t completely carry over to doubles. Caroline Doyle and Ellen Tsay scored a first-set victory against top-seeded Maya Jansen/Erin Routliffe of Alabama but couldn’t keep it going in a 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 loss to the defending champions.  Doyle/Tsay broke Jansen/Routliffe to go up 6-5 in the first set and hold serve to claim the set, but the Crimson Tide pair quickly rattled off the first three games of the next set to take control of the second and coasted through the third. It was the first time Stanford had sent a doubles team to the semis since 2012, when Mallory Burdette/Nicole Gibbs took the crown (Stanford won three straight doubles titles from 2010-12). will have a singles and doubles finals recap Monday.

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