Sports

Four Cardinal tennis players remain in contention for NCAA singles title

 

Seven of the top 11 nationally-ranked men's players, including Stanford junior Bradley Klahn, survived their second-round matches of the NCAA singles tournament Thursday at the Taube Family Tennis Center and will play in Friday's Round of 16, which earns them All-American status.

The ninth-ranked Klahn defeated 17th-ranked Austin Krajicekof Texas A&M, 6-1, 6-4, while No. 1 Steve Johnson of USC, No. 3 Rhyne Williams of Tennessee, No. 4 Blaz Rola of Ohio State, Virginia's fifth-ranked Michael Shabaz, Duke's eighth-ranked Henrique Cunha and No. 11 John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee also advanced.

"I thought I started off a lot better today; energized and not as sluggish as yesterday," Klahn said. "I thought I really played aggressively at the start, kind took it to him, got him off balance a little bit. I was pleased with my play."

Klahn meets No. 22 Jose Hernandez of North Carolina in the next round. Hernandez took out Florida's seventh-ranked Alexandre Lacroix, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

No. 6 Eric Quigley of Kentucky also fell, losing a third set tie-breaker, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) to Mississippi's Marcel Thiemann.

"I was down four match points," Thiemann said. "Somehow, I don't know how ... somehow, I got through. He's an amazing player. He would have deserved it just as much to win."

In doubles play, Klahn and Ryan Thacher, ranked third, advanced with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) victory over Kentucky's tandem of Quigley and Brad Cox.

On the women's side, Stanford's third-ranked Hilary Barte advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over No. 19 Kelcy McKenna of Arizona State.

"I feel good. After a heartbreaking loss in the (team) finals, I'm excited to get back out on the courts and get vengeance," Barte said. "The past two years we've gotten to the final as a team and I actually think it's better to go right to the individuals. You're in a rhythm and you're in match mode. As far as the strategy, it's just a simple plan of high execution, because everyone's good."

Stanford freshman Nicole Gibbs, ranked 18th, beat USC's Danielle Lao, 6-2, 6-1, and Cardinal sophomore Stacey Tan upset No. 28 Sanaa Bhambri of North Carolina, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Gibbs, Stanford's No. 3 singles player, goes against Allie Will, Florida's No. 1 singles player, in the Round of 16.

Barte gets a rematch with Northwestern's 10th-ranked Maria Mosolova on Friday. The Cardinal senior beat Mosolova last Friday in the Round of 16 of the team tournament.

Tan, who played No. 4 and No. 5 singles for Stanford, meets Texas' Aeriel Ellis, who upset Washington's fourth-ranked Denise Dy in three sets.

Ellis, coached by former Stanford great Patty Fendick-McCain, became the Longhorn's first All-American in 11 years.

"Aeriel has grown up a lot between this year and last year," Fendick-McCain said, "and she has a completely different perspective on things this year. She trained hard coming into this event and came here with the right mindset. It's nice to see it come together at a really good time for her."

California's top-ranked Jana Juricova also advanced. "I trust my game and I think it shows. I'm feeling good and I'm excited for the next matches," she said.

Second-ranked Maria Sanchez of USC fell to Cal's Mari Andersson, and Michigan's eighth-ranked Denise Muresan dropped a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision to Georgia's Chelsea Gullickson.

Barte and Mallory Burdette, ranked third and seeded fourth, also advanced in doubles play, beating Marshall's Michaela Kissell and Dominica Zaprazna, 6-3, 6-0.

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