May 27, 2012
ATHENS, Ga.- Monday's national singles final will be an all-Stanford affair, with junior Mallory Burdette squaring off against sophomore Nicole Gibbs at the 2012 NCAA Tennis Championships.
In Sunday's semifinals, Burdette cruised California's Zsofi Susanyi 6-2, 6-2 while Gibbs outlasted Florida's Allie Will 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, ensuring that a Stanford player will capture the NCAA singles crown for the first time since Amber Liu repeated in 2004. Entering this year, Stanford had produced 14 all-time collegiate singles champions (12 NCAA, 2 AIAW).
Tomorrow's all-Stanford NCAA singles final will be the first since 2001, when Cardinal teammates Laura Granville and Lauren Kalvaria square off in Stone Mountain, Ga. Granville defeated Kalvaria 6-3, 7-6 (1).
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Ranked No. 5 nationally and seeded No. 5 in the draw, Burdette continued a dominating tournament run. Through five contests, she has yet to surrender more than three games to her opponent in any set. In addition to taking down three Pac-12 rivals along the way, Burdette also knocked off the nation's No. 2-ranked player in Duke's Beatrice Capra.
Improving to a team-best 41-6 overall on the year, Burdette has enjoyed similar hot stretches at times this year. She notched a career-best 21-match winning streak from Jan. 15-April 28, and won 11 straight matches without dropping a set from March 30-April 28.
After pairing with Hilary Barte to win last year's NCAA doubles crown, Burdette is looking to become the fifth player in school history to capture a collegiate singles and doubles title during her career.
Only two Stanford players have claimed collegiate singles and doubles championships during the same season, with Kathy Jordan capturing AIAW titles in 1979 and Linda Gates pulling off the NCAA double in 1985.
Burdette won her first career singles title in October, claiming the consolation crown at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. She was the runner-up at the ITA Northwest Regional Championships later that month, falling to Gibbs in a three-setter.
Ranked No. 3 nationally and seeded No. 3 in the draw, Gibbs is following up an impressive rookie campaign. She has moved one step closer to the hardware this year after being eliminated in last year's semifinals by eventual NCAA champion Jana Juricova.
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Improving to 40-5 overall on the year, Gibbs notched her biggest win of the tournament Sunday afternoon by grinding out a tough three-setter against Will, the nation's No. 1 player and tournament's top seed. The contest represented a rematch from February, when Will edged Gibbs 4-6, 6-2, 4-6 during Stanford's 5-2 win over Florida.
It was the second top-10 opponent Gibbs has defeated during her tournament run, upending No. 8 Jana Juricova of California yesterday in the quarterfinals. After a 6-0, 6-2 rout of Virginia's Emily Fraser in her opening round match, Gibbs has pulled out a three-setter over Florida's Joanna Mather and a hard-fought 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6) win over Tennessee's Natalie Pluskota.
Gibbs, who finished 46-6 overall in 2011, is now riding a 16-match winning streak since her last loss back on April 14. She has already pocketed two singles titles this year, winning the ITA Northwest Regional Championships in October (against Burdette in three sets) and the Pac-12 Championships in April.
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Burdette and Gibbs will also play in Monday's doubles final after defeating Tennessee's team of Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely 7-6 (1), 6-1 on Sunday in the semifinals.
Burdette and Gibbs are the first teammates to square off in the singles final and also team up in doubles in NCAA history.
Sunday's first-set tiebreaker was a rarity, as Burdette and Gibbs had not surrendered more than three games in any set during their first three matches of the tournament.
Stanford has produced the last two NCAA doubles championship teams, with Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette claiming the crown in 2010 before Barte and Mallory Burdette took home the hardware last year. Mallory Burdette now has a chance to capture back-to-back doubles titles.
Burdette and Gibbs are attempting to bring home Stanford's 15th overall collegiate doubles title in school history, and eighth since the since the NCAA adopted its current format in 1982.
Also capturing NCAA doubles crowns for Stanford were: Linda Gates/Elise Burgin in 1984, Linda Gates/Leigh Anne Eldredge in 1985, Meredith McGrath/Teri Whitlinger in 1990, Lauren Kalvaria/Gabriela Lastra in 2002, Alice Barnes/Erin Burdette in 2005, Barte/Lindsay Burdette in 2010 and Barte/Mallory Burdette in 2011.
Winning doubles titles prior to 1982 were: Linda Yeomans/Carol Hanks (1962), Jane Albert/Julie Anthony (1967), Susie Hagey/Diane Morrison (1976), Susie Hagey/Diane Morrison (1977), Barbara Jordan/Kathy Jordan (1978), Kathy Jordan/Alycia Moulton (1979) and Caryn Copeland/Alycia Moulton (1981).
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No. 3 Nicole Gibbs
First Round: d. No. 22 Emily Fraser (Virginia) 6-0, 6-2
Second Round: d. No. 21 Joanna Mather (Florida) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Round of 16: d. No. 35 Natalie Pluskota (Tennessee) 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6)
Quarterfinals: d. No. 8 Jana Juricova (California) 6-2, 7-5
Semifinals: d. No. 1 Allie Will (Florida) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
No. 5 Mallory Burdette
First Round: d. No. 120 Maria Craciun (South Carolina State) 6-1, 6-1
Second Round: d. No. 17 Denise Dy (Washington) 6-1, 6-2
Round of 16: d. No. 14 Zoe Scandalis (USC) 6-0, 6-3
Quarterfinals: d. No. 2 Beatrice Capra (Duke) 6-3, 6-2
Semifinals: d. No. 13 Zsofi Susanyi (California) 6-2, 6-2
No. 25 Stacey Tan
First Round: lost to No. 36 Natalie Beazant (Rice) 7-5, 6-2
No. 2 Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs
First Round: d. No. 50 Hilary Bartlett/Lindsay Graff (Princeton) 6-1, 6-1
Round of 16: d. No. 26 Natalie Beazant/Dominique Harmath (Rice) 6-2, 6-2
Quarterfinals: d. No. 32 Lorraine Guillermo/Khunpak Issara (Pepperdine) 6-1, 6-3
Semifinals: d. No. 10 Natalie Pluskota/Kata Szekely (Tennessee) 7-6 (1), 6-1
No. 24 Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay
First Round: lost to No. 8 Kristy Frilling/Shannon Mathews (Notre Dame) 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5)