The NCAA singles tournament kicked off with singles play yesterday in Athens, Ga., where juniors Mallory Burdette and Stacey Tan and sophomore Nicole Gibbs represented Stanford in the first round. Burdette and Gibbs, both top-five seeds, moved into the second round with easy wins, while the unseeded Tan fell to Rice’s Natalie Beazant.
Gibbs, who recently won the Pac-12 individual title, is the tournament’s No. 3 seed, and she continued to display her dominant play of late with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over the No. 22 Emily Fraser of Virginia on Wednesday. This may not be Gibbs’ last meeting with Fraser, though. Both women are participating in the same half NCAA doubles draw as well, which kicks off today. For now, Gibbs will concentrate on her second round singles match against either No. 59 Hanna Mar of Duke or No. 21 Joanna Mather of Florida.
Burdette cruised through her match against No. 120 Maria Craciun of South Carolina State, defeating her 6-1, 6-1.
“I played a really solid match today,” Burdette said. “I did a great job of making first serves and returns as well as building points.”
Burdette will now play Washington’s Denise Dy in the second round. Dy, seeded No. 22, defeated No. 41 Marianne Jodoin of Fresno State, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the first round. Burdette has played Dy before and described her style of play as consistent.
“She is a very good defender and she will definitely get a lot of balls back,” Burdette said.
Tan wasn’t able to capture a victory, instead stumbling against the unseeded Beazant. Tan, who earned an at-large bid to the tournament and is ranked No. 25 nationally, lost 7-5, 6-2. It is Beazant now who will face No. 4 Robin Anderson of UCLA, who defeated No. 33 seed Courtney Collins of Memphis, 6-3, 6-0, in her first round matchup.
Though Tan’s run at the singles title has ended, she will appear tomorrow in the first round of doubles with freshman Ellen Tsay. They will play Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews of Notre Dame. Gibbs and Burdette, the No. 2 doubles team and Pac-12 runners-up, will begin their quest for a title as well Thursday against Princeton’s Hilary Bartlett and Lindsay Graff.
The action continues with the second round of singles and first round of doubles today at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.