By David Perez
Just two players, sophomore Nicole Gibbs and junior Mallory Burdette, are left carrying the torch for Stanford women’s tennis at the NCAA Championship, as both won their second round singles matches this morning and advanced to the quarterfinal round. Gibbs and Burdette also combined to win their first round match in the doubles draw.
Gibbs got an early scare on the second day of singles play, needing three sets to beat Florida’s Joanna Mather 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“This match was really big for me mentally,” said Gibbs, who is now 2-2 in her career against Mather. “She plays really good tennis and I was able to stay with her.”
Burdette dominated for a second straight day, defeating Washington’s Denise Dy 6-1, 6-2.
The second-seeded duo of Gibbs and Burdette took care of business in their opening round of doubles play, winning 6-1, 6-1 against the unseeded Princeton pair of Hillary Bartlett and Lindsay Graff.
The work has just begun for Gibbs and Burdette, who will have to play both a singles and a doubles match every day until they are eliminated, or until the finals next Monday. This is nothing new for Burdette, who won last year’s NCAA doubles championship with Hilary Barte, who graduated last year.
Having a chance at making a deep run in both the singles and doubles is new for Gibbs though.
“It is definitely a grind, but I am taking all the right precautions,” Gibbs said of the battles ahead.
Freshman Ellen Tsay and junior Stacey Tan also appeared in the doubles draw, although they lost a closely contested match with the score of 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) to the eighth-ranked duo of Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews from Notre Dame.
Next up for Gibbs is Natalie Pluskota from Tennessee. They have never played each other in singles, but they have met in doubles in the past.
Burdette will face a more familiar foe in USC’s top singles player Zoe Scandalis. While Gibbs has beaten Scandalis in dual matches twice this year, Burdette fell to her 7-6, 6-7, 3-6 in the finals of the Freeman Invitational back in January. Winning would also give Burdette a measure of revenge from the team competition as Stanford lost to USC in the quarterfinals of the NCAA team competition last week.
Gibbs and Burdette’s doubles match will be against Rice’s Natalie Beazant and Dominique Harmath in the second round of the doubles draw.
Both Gibbs’s and Burdette’s singles matches will begin at 7 a.m. PDT while their doubles match is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. PDT today.