Stanford grad Nicole Gibbs is on the verge of earning herself a third consecutive trip into the U.S. Open. She took one step closer Friday with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova in the quarterfinal of the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington.
Gibbs entered the tournament, the last of three that will determine the wild card, with a 40-point lead over Melanie Oudin, who also reached the semifinal round in Lexington.
The seventh-seeded Gibbs, currently ranked 142nd in the world, meets fifth-seeded Irina Falcone on Saturday. Either a Gibbs win or an Oudin loss (she plays second-seeded Madison Brengle) would clinch the wild card.
Gibbs and Falcone, ranked No. 167, have faced each other twice, both this season. Gibbs won both matches but they were played on clay.
In their previous meeting, a first round match at Indian Harbor, Gibbs needed three sets to down the Ecuador native.
Gibbs survived a tough test Thursday in beating UCLA sophomore Jennifer Brady in three sets. After calling for an injury timeout for a hip problem, Gibbs rebounded from a first set loss to win twice.
While not trying to worry about the wild card, Gibbs did say "it was another reason to fight through."
Stanford grad Kristie Ahn, who partnered with USC grad Kaitlyn Christian in the doubles tournament, saw her run in Lexington end in the semifinals. The duo lost, 6-3, 6-2, to the Great Britain team of Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith, seeded third.
Ahn received a wild card in the main draw of the Bank of the West Classic, which begins Monday. Ahn meets 2008 runner-up Coco Vandeweghe in the first round on a day and time to be determined.
Ahn finished her Cardinal career with a 97-17 overall record and was 57-8 in duals. She was named the 2014 ITA National Senior Player of the Year.
Sophomores Caroline Doyle and Carol Zhao have earned wild card spots in the qualifying draw and will play their matches inside the stadium.
Doyle meets No. 1 seed Aleksandra Wozniak, the 2008 Bank of the West Classic champion, in the third match on court Saturday while Zhao follows in the final contest against No. 2 seed Katerina Siniakova.
Stanford grad Jayne Appel recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in a losing effort Friday night as the San Antonio Stars dropped an 88-78 decision to the host Minnesota Lynx.
It was Appel's second double-double of the year and her sixth game with double digits in rebounds. The 12 boards are her second-most of the season.
Appel's layup with 5:15 left in the third quarter brought the Stars within 52-51 of the Lynx. She made all five of her shots.
San Antonio hosts the Indiana Fever on Saturday night while the Lynx travel to play at the Connecticut Sun on Sunday.
Cardinal grad Kerri Walsh Jennings and teammate April Ross survived a tough match with Germany's Laura Ludwig and Julie Sude, to win, 21-18, 18-21 and 17-15, at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach on Friday.
The top-seeded Walsh and Ross meet The Netherlands' eighth-seeded Marleen Van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink in Saturday's quarterfinal round.