By Shan Reddy
In a tournament that was fittingly played at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Stanford’s campus over the past few days, the Cardinal women’s tennis team swept the singles and doubles draws of the ITA Women’s Northwest Regional Championships in tough-fought matches on Tuesday afternoon.
The tournament was a dominant showing for Stanford, taking the singles championship and runner-up spot, as well as the doubles championship. “It’s always an honor to have two players make the final,” said head coach Lele Forood. “Obviously, we can’t impact the match that way, but this is a great result for us.”
The singles finals match saw sophomore Michaela Gordon defend her title, taking down senior and fellow Cardinal Caroline Lampl in three long sets (6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2). It was Gordon’s first three-set match of the tournament, after she took down her previous five matches in straight sets.
Senior Kimberly Yee and freshman Nikula Madurawe rallied back against Cal’s Anna Bright/Janie Dunk to take the doubles championship (6-7 (1), 7-5, 1-0 (5)) after losing the first set in tiebreak. It was the duo’s debut — Yee usually plays alongside Lampl — but the pair played in remarkable sync, coming out ahead after being behind all the way up to the end of the second set. Madurawe and freshman Sara Choy are the headliners of a strong 2018 recruiting class for the Cardinal team that hopes to carry its recent years of success forward.
“We knew we would have a really good team this year because of our depth and adding two great freshmen,” said Forood. “It really showed up this weekend since this was the first time they all could compete in the same tournament. Having what was basically a pick-up team win the doubles final was also really outstanding. Just an incredible performance for our team early in the season.”
Stanford has won the singles tournament in eight of the past nine years, with Gordon taking the last two following up Taylor Davidson in 2015, Carol Zhao in 2014, Kristie Ahn in 2013 and 2010, Krista Hardebeck in 2012 and Nicole Gibbs in 2011. The tournament has been tougher for Stanford’s doubles teams; last year, both of the Cardinal’s top doubles duos fell in the semifinals, including the pairing of Arbuthnott and Gordon, who fell to Oregon’s Alyssa Tobita/Shweta Sangwan in a nailbiter (4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (4)).
The final tournament of the fall season will be the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, for which Gordon, Lampl, Arbuthnott and Yee have already qualified. Last season, Arbuthnott/Gordon defeated Ole Miss’ Alexa Bortles/Arianne Hartono in the national championship (6-4, 6-1). The duo will be looking to defend their title in Surprise, Arizona this November.
Contact Shan Reddy at rsreddy ‘at’ stanford.edu