Sports

It's an all-Stanford finale in Pac-12 doubles title match

 

Sunday's final at the Pac-12 Championships will be an all-Stanford affair, with Taylor Davidson and Carol Zhao squaring off against Caroline Doyle and Ellen Tsay in Ojai.

Davidson and Zhao advanced to Sunday's match when California's Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr withdrew due to injury while Doyle and Tsay booked a spot with an 8-4 victory over California's Klara Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi.

Stanford is assured of its first Pac-12 doubles champion since 2006, when Alice Barnes and Anne Yelsey defeated California's Suzi Babos and Zsuzsanna Fodor 8-4.

Barnes captured the Pac-12 doubles title in three consecutive seasons, winning with Yelsey again in 2005 and Erin Burdette in 2004.

The Cardinal has produced seven conference doubles champions overall. Zhao was a runner-up in last year's event, partnering with Kristie Ahn.

Men's tennis

Nationally No. 26 Stanford fell just short in its bid for a Pac-12 Tournament title, dropping a 4-3 decision to No. 8 USC on Saturday night in Ojai.

Stanford (17-6, 6-1 Pac-12) built a 3-2 lead before USC (22-4, 6-1 Pac-12) rallied to win both remaining matches and secure its second Pac-12 Championships crown since the team format was established in 2012.

Both squads entered Saturday's match in good shape for the NCAA Tournament, but Saturday's outcome means defending national champ USC will receive the conference's automatic bid. The Trojans have won five of the past six NCAA championships.

The Cardinal added another accomplishment to what has become a season of milestones. Stanford was participating in the tournament final for the first time in school history, thanks to a 4-3 victory over USC two weeks ago on The Farm that gave the Cardinal its first share of the regular-season conference title since 2010.

Stanford, which has been ranked between No. 24-43 throughout the dual-match season, should feel confident about its postseason chances. In addition to its impressive Pac-12 regular-season finish, the Cardinal owns a victory over UCLA and two wins against California. Stanford's six losses have come against teams ranked among the top-30.

Meanwhile, the gap between USC continues to close. Stanford had lost nine in a row to the Trojans before its victory two weeks ago. The last two matches have resulted in 4-3 margins, while the Cardinal had not earned more than two points in any match over the previous nine meetings.

For the 13th consecutive match, Stanford captured the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead with Tom Fawcett and Maciek Romanowicz clinching the point with an 8-5 win on court two.

One of the biggest reasons the Cardinal has been able to remain competitive with USC this season has been the play of its freshmen. Stanford moved in front 3-2 thanks to Fawcett's 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 comeback against 11th-ranked Yannick Hanfmann and David Hsu's 7-5, 6-4 triumph over Max de Vroome playing one spot higher at the No. 5 position.

Trailing 3-2, USC knotted the match with a victory at the No. 6 spot and clinched the title when Eric Johnson outlasted Morrissey 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on court two.

Stanford will find out its postseason status when the NCAA Tournament selection show airs Tuesday.

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