Stanford's Zhao will start the tennis season No. 1 in the nation


Stanford junior Carol Zhao will start the 2015-16 women's tennis season ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to the 2015 Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Women's Division I Preseason Rankings that were released Tuesday.

Zhao begins the year as top-ranked singles player after being the NCAA singles runner-up last season, Zhao has also displayed excellent prowess in doubles, as she and partner Taylor Davidson were the No. 2 ranked team and finished the year with a 33-8 mark.

Davidson starts the year ranked No. 15 in singles with fellow junior Caroline Doyle at the No. 17 position. Stanford's three players among the top 25 is the most of any school in the nation. Five other teams, including Cal, have two each.

Davidson and current doubles partner Caroline Lampl, a freshman, will begin this season ranked No. 19 in the country. Doyle and Cardinal freshman Melissa Lord are ranked No. 25. Lord also is No. 10 in the national Newcomer/Freshman rankings.

Lampl was ranked No. 1 in Mid-Atlantic region for U18 and section champion since October 2013 and was ranked No. 9 nationally and tabbed a Blue Chip recruit by She finished fourth at U18 National Clay Court Tournament in Memphis, Tenn., this past summer.

Lord ranked No. 7 nationally and also was tabbed a Blue Chip recruit. She completed her high school career undefeated.

In the men's rankings, Stanford sophomore Tom Fawcett is No. 20 in singles and teammate David Hsu is tied for No. 96. In doubles, Fawcett and Maciek Romanowicz are No. 33.

Stanford also has two players on the national Newcomer/Freshman rankings, Sameer Kumar at No. 3 and Michael Genender at No. 7.

In other tennis news:

The USTA has announced that Kumar and fellow freshman Kimberly Yee have been named the winners of the 2015 USTA National Junior Scholar Athlete Award. The announcement was made at the USTA Semi-Annual meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

"Both Sameer and Kimberly have been tremendous standouts both on the court in junior tennis, as well as in the classroom," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "We applaud their hard work and dedication should be applauded and we wish them the best of luck as they both continue their studies at Stanford."

This is the fourth year the USTA has honored national junior winners of a scholar-athletes. To qualify, students must have an unweighted GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale and demonstrate that tennis is the sport for education, advancement and character development. A written essay, as well as leadership and sportsmanship, were also considered.

Kumar is from Carmel, Ind., and recently competed at the US Open Junior Championships. Kumar was a National Merit Finalist and got a perfect 800 on his SAT in math. He won the National Winter Championships, the Easter Bowl in the Boys' 16s, and he was also a semifinalist at USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., and the Metropolia Orange Bowl.

Kumar's coach Bryan Smith said: "Sameer gives back on a daily basis to our younger players, mentoring them and helping out with drills and giving them insight into the ups and downs of playing tennis at the highest level."

Yee is a Las Vegas native who has won four national titles and more than 35 sectional titles. She was honored last year at the International Tennis Hall of Fame with the Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award.

"I have been working with Kimberly for over 15 years," said Tim Blenkiron, Yee's coach. "Through her own pursuit of excellence and passion for helping others, Kimberly has inspired all of the young people she mentors to put academics, leadership and kindness first."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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