May 18, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - It was a tennis-filled day at the Taube Tennis Center, on the first day of competition at the first-ever combined Division I Men's & Women's NCAA Tennis Championships. The women's Round of 16 kicked off the tournament today, with seven of the top-eight seeds advancing to tomorrow's quarterfinals.
In the morning matches, 11th-seeded Northwestern started the day with a surprise 4-0 victory over sixth-seeded Georgia Tech, while third-seeded USC fought past a tough opponent in Virginia Commonwealth who entered today's match as one of only two undefeated teams in the nation.
At noon, No. 2 Notre Dame and seventh-seeded Miami dispatched Kentucky and Fresno State, before fifth-seeded Baylor defeated No. 12 Vanderbilt, 4-2.
But in the afternoon an upset began to brew, as UCLA took the doubles point for the 1-0 lead over No. 4 Florida. After four hours and 20 minutes of play, the Gators clinched a 4-3 victory with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win by sophomore Alex Liles on court six.
In the final matches of the day, eighth-seeded Duke dropped a hard-fought doubles point to ACC rival North Carolina, seeded ninth in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils won the first doubles match on court three, 9-7, but the Tar Heels came back with a 9-8(5) victory on court two and a 9-8(3) win on court one to take a 1-0 lead in the match. In singles, though, Duke took the momentum back, scoring five first-set wins and closed out the match with wins on two, four, five and six.
In the main stadium, the two-time defending NCAA Champions and this year's hosts, top-ranked Stanford were in an early deficit to 16th-seeded TCU, but the Cardinal rallied back, winning the doubles point and then posting six first-set wins in singles. The Cardinal wrapped up the 4-0 win to cap the night and extend its home court win streak to 104 matches.
Tomorrow, the women will play quarterfinal matches. The day will begin at 3 p.m., with Northwestern and USC set to serve on the Taube South Courts and Miami and Notre Dame facing off on the stadium courts. Following those matches at 6 p.m, Baylor and Florida will meet on the south courts and Stanford will host Duke on the stadium courts.
The women will then take one day off as the men's Round of 16 kicks off on Saturday.