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May 29 - Singles/Doubles Semifinals
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 05/25/2011

May 29, 2011

Taube Family Tennis Center - Stanford, Calif.
Semifinal Singles/Doubles Matches

No. 1 Steve Johnson (1), USC, d. No. 5 Michael Shabaz (3), VIRGINIA, 7-6 (4), 4-2, ret.
No. 3 Rhyne Williams (4), TENNESSEE, d. No. 45 Tennys Sandgren, TENNESSEE, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0

No. 3 Bradley Klahn-Ryan Thacher, STANFORD, d. No. 17 Sekou Bangoura Jr.-Alexandre Lacroix, FLORIDA, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
No. 4 Jeff Dadamo-Austin Krajicek (3), TEXAS A&M, d. No. 14 Kevin King-Juan Spir, GEORGIA TECH, 6-4, 7-6 (7)

No. 1 Steve Johnson, USC (1)
"I'm still not quite sure what happened. [Michael Shabaz] was just done. After that serve, he hits the ball out of the stadium, gets a point penalty and calls it quits. He's a really tough competitor, so I'm not quite sure what happened."

"In the first set, I was serving at 5-6, ad-out, and had a 3-4 ball rally, and he hit a slice that I thought was clearly out, by a couple of inches. The official on the line didn't call it, but the chair umpire overruled it...I felt like the referee made the right call, and [Shabaz] probably felt differently. Later, the one break point I had, he kind of just gave it to me, hits it out of the stadium, point penalty, and that was it."

"I felt like early in the first set, there were a couple of points that I thought didn't go my way that could have changed the match. It works both ways, and I guess it just worked my way at the right time."

"I had no idea what to expect, having never gone this far in the tournament. I had never been in the semifinals and this atmosphere before. This Stanford crowd is fantastic, and there are tons of people out here, and it's a fun place to play."

"It's such as special opportunity. I remember in years past saying that it's a great effort, since it's nine or 10 straight days of playing some of the best competition in the country. You don't get that all year when you're playing two or three matches a week and you get five days off. It's a real testament to the training staff we have at USC. My body feels good."

USC Head Coach Peter Smith
"I'm speechless, really. I actually feel sorry for all those involved. Michael is a way better person than that, and that program is a way better program than that. There were some missed calls in the match, and they're going to happen, but that's tennis. I thought it was the correct call."

"You're always happy when a match ends early, but you don't want to win that way. I've got a lot of text messages asking me what just happened."

"Tomorrow is going to be great for American tennis, bottom-line. It's really great for American tennis. It's interesting, you've got the two finalists from the National Indoors playing outdoors. It has all of the qualities and capabilities of a great match."

No. 5 Michael Shabaz (3), VIRGINIA
"It was an unfortunate way for the match to end. Take nothing away from Steve Johnson, as he is a terrific player and we have always have had a great relationship. It was an emotional decision in a highly contested match. I'm sorry the match ended under these circumstances."

Virginia Head Coach Brian Boland
"I'm in shock. I've been with Michael for four years and he's never quit on a match, walked off the court. I'm speechless. I don't know. Total shock."

"You're never justified in quitting a tennis match, under any circumstances, no matter what the adversity holds. Whether we agree or disagree with the line calls, whether we're having the worst days of our lives. I've told my players that my entire coaching career, and I'm in absolute shock. I cannot believe that Michael made that decision, regardless of his agreement or disagreement with the line officials, or the head officials. I'm lost for words."

"We've had an unbelievable relationship for four years, he's grown incredibly, and I'm completely and totally sad, and very disappointed. In fact, this to me was harder than the team loss."

"I want to thank Stanford University for running a terrific tournament. I thought it was a well-run event by the greatest collegiate tennis coach in history, Dick Gould. We were grateful to have the opportunity to play in the [team] final. It's an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. I also would like to add that Steve Johnson is a class act, and a great tennis player, and I'm disappointed that the fans and everyone that got to see that match didn't get to see it finish, regardless of how frustrated Michael was."

"I was really proud of our effort in the team event, and congratulations again to USC, Steve Johnson and Rhyne Williams for advancing to the final. It will be a terrific match. This is the first time in our sixth year that we won't be part of the final. But that's okay. We'll move on. The sun will come up tomorrow, I think."

No. 3 Rhyne Williams (4), TENNESSEE
"We were probably eight or nine years old the first time we played, in a tournament in Chattanooga, in another long match. That was the first time we met."

"I've been really happy with the way Tennys has been playing. He's been really helping out our team...It kind of stinks that one of us had to lose today, but it's good to have a Tennessee Vol in the finals."

"[The crowd] was a tiny bit distracting. There were a couple of times in the middle of the point where there was a huge eruption, but that's just part of it. It was no big deal."

No. 45 Tennys Sandgren, TENNESSEE
"I saw the draw and saw that we could play in the semis. And I thought, 'That's a long way away, but that would be awesome.'...It's obviously a very big match, to play in the semifinals and have a chance to play for the national championship, and I'll be Rhyne's biggest fan tomorrow."

"We know that once we got on the court, we had the freedom to play the match still, and get fired up, and try to win, and that we wouldn't offend each other. We each wanted to win the match so badly that we weren't going to take it personally at all."

"I feel like the first set was just a war. On some of the points I was dying and he was just taking his time. He kind of gave me the second set, and then in the third he got his energy back...He'd hit an ace, then I'd play a good point. Then he would hit another ace, and I'd play another good point."

Austin Krajicek, TEXAS A&M
"It was a great match for us. I think it was closely contested the whole time, and we had some of our best points in the tiebreaker, and a break in the first set...It's a great chance for us to play in the finals, against either Stanford or Florida, and they're both great teams."

Bradley Klahn, STANFORD
"It was obviously a tough match coming down to the tiebreaker in the final set, it can't get any closer than that. They were solid off the back and they returned pretty well. They made us hit a lot of volleys and they mixed up their serves, which got us out of our rhythm. We fought back in the second set and started stepping it up. Florida made a few more errors than they did in the first. Then the third set was just a dogfight."

Ryan Thacher, STANFORD
"Obviously it is very special. We're really happy to be in the finals, especially here at home. It is a really unique experience because we get to have our friends up in the stands cheering for us. We know Austin [Krajicek] and Jeff [Dadamo] very well. We're 0-2 against them so far this year but we're hoping to turn that around. I think we are pretty similar in styles to them. We are all left-handed, we all serve pretty big and for the most part we volley pretty well. It is going to be a dog fight tomorrow."

No. 1 Jana Juricova (1), CALIFORNIA, d. No. 18 Nicole Gibbs, STANFORD, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (2)
No. 43 Stacey Tan, STANFORD, d. No. 17 Lauren Embree, FLORIDA, 5-7, 6-3, ret.

No. 3 Hilary Barte-Mallory Burdette (4), STANFORD, d. No. 1 Mari Anderson-Jana Juricova (1), CALIFORNIA, 6-1, 6-4
No. 6 Josipa Bek-Keri Wong, CLEMSON, d. No. 4 Kaitlyn Christian-Maria Sanchez, USC (3), 6-4, 6-4

No. 1 Jana Juricova (1), STANFORD
"I knew that match was going to be tough. I was mentally ready for it to be really challenging. She's a great player and I think it was a great match. The crowd was amazing too, so that really helped me pull through it. It was a combination of things that got me through it. I'm glad it worked out in my favor."

Florida Head Coach Roland Thornqvist:
"Lauren's been such a warrior, but today she was forced to retire. The nail was torn off her toe and she was having real issues with her skin. She's the toughest player I've ever had the pleasure of coaching. For Lauren not to continue, you know that she was hurt badly. She had a great run, with lots of things to be proud of this year. This is obviously disappointing but I know she'll be motivated to do even better next year."

No. 18 Nicole Gibbs, STANFORD
"I definitely wasn't feeling as confident as I would have liked to in my serve games. I felt like that was kind of a draw, as to who would win the game in the third set. Once she started feeling her serve a little more, it made it really hard for me to work into points, much less the game. I had an opportunity up 4-3 in the third, at 40-15, where she gave me a look at a couple second serves. I think that was the difference, as I just didn't step up and hit the ball there like I should have."

"I think the level of play throughout the third set was what both of us were probably aiming for the whole match. I think early in the match, it was a little sloppy from both of us with some nerves. Once we got to the third set, we were really working into our games, the points got better and it became a much more entertaining match. I'm proud of my effort here but obviously disappointed I won't be playing tomorrow."

"It's great to play in the semifinals but I also believe in myself. I believe that I worked my way onto that court today and I deserve to be there as much as my opponent and everyone else in the semifinals. So I definitely have that self-belief that I deserved to be out there today."

"I'm really excited about how I performed this week. Again, there is a lot of disappointment in the fact that I think I had a lot of opportunities today, but I see myself as someone who could potentially win an NCAA singles title and I got myself pretty close this week. So I am proud but also disappointed that I couldn't convert those couple points that might have been the difference today."

No. 43 Stacey Tan, STANFORD
"I'd say the first set, it was going back and forth, it was a really close match. I figured at the start of the second set, I just had to keep sticking with my gameplan. The second set was still very close, but there were a few key games where just sticking with my game hurt her confidence. Just with the way she was walking. I'm not sure if she was injured or not, or whether that led to the retirement. I figure that it's just been a long tournament, with the team tournament and then going into individuals. So maybe it's just the wear and tear."

"I feel like Nicole and Hilary might have a bit of information [on finals opponent Jana Juricova], and the coaches too, which will help a lot."

"I probably wouldn't have believed it. I was just so happy to get into this tournament, after not getting into it last year. I'm just so happy to see how I can do against all of these top players."

"I feel like it does help [to be an underdog]. I haven't been putting a lot of pressure on myself in this tournament, just because I know it's a great opportunity to play against all of these top players, to test my skills against them, and see how I can do."

Hilary Barte, STANFORD
"I thought we returned really well, especially to start off, and really the entire set. In that second set, they stepped up. I didn't think we fell at all, they just raised their level. All four of the games they won could have gone the other way."

Mallory Burdette, STANFORD
"We have each been playing well here and there, sort of just picking each other up. Today though I feel like we were both playing really well and that was reflected in the score. I think they picked up their game in the second set, but we made them play well in order to get those four games. I am really happy with the way we played."

Josipa Bek, CLEMSON
"We tried hard, like in every match, and it wasn't easy. They fought hard and they are a really good team, which is why they're in the semifinals. We're glad that we were able to finish it in two sets."

Keri Wong, CLEMSON
"I'm excited for tomorrow. We've been in the finals of two of the other Grand Slams, and we've lost in both, so hopefully the third time is the charm."



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