May 26, 2013
URBANA, Ill.- Fresh off yet another dominating performance, Nicole Gibbs stands on the doorstep of repeating as the NCAA singles champion.
Collecting her second straight 6-1, 6-1 victory in a row, Gibbs needed only 54 minutes to dismiss No. 31 Breaunna Addison of Texas on Sunday afternoon in the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship.
In a match that was played indoors due to weather, Gibbs led 2-0 in the first set before Addison trimmed the deficit to 2-1. The Cardinal junior All-American answered by ripping off seven straight games until Addison eventually got back on the scoreboard at 3-1 in the second set.
Stanford blanked Texas 7-0 this year during the regular season, although Gibbs and Addison did not face off during that match. Addison, a talented freshman playing in only her first semester of college tennis, competes at the No. 2 spot for the Longhorns and suffered a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Kristie Ahn on that day.
"I felt like I was playing pretty loose tennis today," said Gibbs. "I started to feel a little bit of nerves for the first time in this tournament, being late in the draw, but I think I worked through them pretty well. I just tried to focus on the things I was doing, playing the game I've been playing all week."
"The thing I've been doing best this week has been transitioning pretty flawlessly from defense to offense and vice versa. Someone will have to hit a lot of balls to get through me, and then if they're not able to get through me the first short ball they give me, I'm on offense and that's been my biggest asset this week."
Monday's championship match (10 a.m. PT, webcast on www.ncaa.com) will pit Gibbs against Nebraska's Mary Weatherholt, who on Monday defeated Alabama's Alexa Guarachi 6-0, 6-3. Gibbs is bidding to become Stanford's first repeat NCAA singles champion since Amber Liu accomplished the feat in 2003-04.
Gibbs, who improved to 29-1 in May during her career, has now won 13 consecutive matches. The junior All-American closed out the 2011-12 campaign by winning 17 matches in a row.
Gibbs can also become the first player to capture the NCAA team and singles crowns in the same season since Duke's Mallory Cecil in 2009 at College Station, Texas.
"I'm not reading too much into it," explained Gibbs. "I haven't decided if that's an advantage or disadvantage going into the finals; obviously, there's some weight on my shoulders with a championship to defend, but at the same time, I have experience late in the tournament that my opponent won't necessarily have."
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No. 13 Nicole Gibbs
First Round: d. No. 47 Yang Pang (Arkansas) 7-5, 6-4
Second Round: d. No. 58 Ronit Yurovsky (Michigan) 6-4, 6-4
Round of 16: d. No. 4 Christina Sanchez-Quintanar (Texas A&M) 6-4, 6-4
Quarterfinals: d. No. 16 Yana Koroleva (Clemson) 6-1, 6-1
Semifinals: d. No. 31 Breaunna Addison (Texas) 6-1, 6-1
Championship: vs. No. 11 Mary Weatherholt (Nebraska) - time TBA (approx. 11 a.m. PT)
No. 14 Krista Hardebeck
First Round: d. No. 22 Pleun Burgmans (Auburn) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Second Round: d. No. 76 Cindy Chala (VCU) 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
Round of 16: lost to No. 6 Lauren Herring (Georgia) 6-0, 6-2
No. 25 Kristie Ahn
First Round: lost to No. 15 Petra Niedermayerova (Kansas State) 6-2, 6-1
No. 8 Kristie Ahn/Nicole Gibbs
First Round: lost to No. 15 Isaura Enrique/Samantha Vickers (Tulsa) 6-2, 6-4
No. 28 Stacey Tan/Ellen Tsay
First Round: lost to No. 11 Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (Florida) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4