Rare Home Loss
STANFORD, Calif. - No. 25 Stanford suffered its first loss of the season on Friday afternoon, falling 4-3 No. 7 Pepperdine in a highly anticipated matchup at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Facing its highest-ranked opponent of the season, Stanford (10-1, 6-0 Pac-12) was chasing a signature win following a 10-spot climb in the national poll this week.
Instead, the Cardinal was saddled with a rare home loss, coming up short for only the fifth time in its last 81 matches on The Farm.
Pepperdine (12-2, 2-0 WCC) secured the victory when Lisa Zaar outlasted Sara Choy 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) in a back-and-forth match on court five. Trailing 2-0 in the third set, Zaar won the next five games before Choy grinded out three in a row despite fighting through cramps. After falling behind 6-5, Choy again battled back to force a tiebreaker but was unable to capitalize on a late lead as Zaar pulled away.
The nonconference match lived up its hype, with two of the nation's top programs squaring off in a postseason-like atmosphere that was enhanced by the return of limited spectators.
Stanford captured the doubles point thanks to a 6-4 win on court three from Choy and Emma Higuchi. Friday's contest marked the first time the Cardinal won doubles but lost the match since Feb. 11, 2019, in a 4-3 loss to Georgia.
After Pepperdine evened the match at 1-1, Emma Higuchi improved to 10-0 on the season with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph on court six.
Tied at 2-2, Michaela Gordon cruised past No. 14-ranked Jessica Failla 6-3, 6-1 at the top spot, putting Stanford ahead 3-2. The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, Gordon picked up her third consecutive win over a ranked player.
Pepperdine then knotted the match at 3-3, as Ana Geller was forced to retire after trailing 4-2 in the second set to Shiori Fukuda.
Zaar followed with the clincher over Choy.
Stanford resumes conference play on Sunday, April 4, visiting No. 46 Oregon at 11 a.m.
No. 7 Pepperdine 4, No. 25 Stanford 3
1) Failla/Fukuda (PEPP) d. Gordon/Niluka Madurawe (STAN) 6-2
2) Arbuthnott/Blake (STAN) d. Lahey/Redelijk (PEPP) 6-2
3) Choy/Higuchi (STAN) d. Pachkaleva/Zaar (PEPP) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1) No. 48 Michaela Gordon (STAN) d. No. 14 Jessica Failla (PEPP) 6-3, 6-1
2) Ashley Lahey (PEPP) d. Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 2-6, 3-6
3) No. 115 Taisiya Pachkaleva (PEPP) d. Angelica Blake (STAN) 6-4, 6-2
4) Shiori Fukuda (PEPP) d. Ana Geller (STAN) 7-5, 4-2, ret. (injury)
5) Lisa Zaar (PEPP) d. Sara Choy (STAN) 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6)
6) Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Nikki Redelijk (PEPP) 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 6, 2, 1, 4, 5