URBANA, Ill. – No. 3 seed Texas A&M continued its historic run, blanking No. 6 seed Miami, 4-0, Sunday at the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex to advance to the NCAA Championship semifinals for the first time in school history.
The Aggies will take on No. 7 seed UCLA Monday at 5 p.m. The Bruins advanced after upsetting No. 2 seed North Carolina, 4-1.
Senior Nazari Urbina capped A&M’s win with her 100th career singles victory as the Aggies improved to 25-3, breaking the school record for most wins in a season. Miami, making its nation-leading fifth consecutive appearance in the quarterfinals, ends its season 23-6.
A&M twins Ines and Paula were first off in doubles, winning seven consecutive games in a dominating 8-2 victory over Brittany Dubins and Stephanie Wagner at the No. 3 line. It was the ninth consecutive victory for the Aggie freshmen, who improve to 19-5 in dual matches.
Minutes later the Aggies’ 18th-ranked duo of freshman Stefania Hristov and junior Cristina Stancu also completed a convincing 8-2 victory at the No. 1 court, defeating Monique Albuquerque and Clementina Riobueno to clinch the doubles point and give A&M a 1-0 lead heading into singles.
The No. 2 court was on serve with A&M seniors Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar and Wen Sun, ranked No. 49 in the nation, leading Miami’s Melissa Bolivar and Kelsey Laurente 5-4 when play was stopped.
A&M, looking to improve on its 18-1 record when winning the doubles point, got off to a quick start in singles by winning the first set on five of six courts. Miami, however, was making a bit of a comeback before Urbina clinched the win.
Stancu, ranked No. 68 in singles, dropped her opening game against 81st-ranked Laurente at the No. 2 line before reeling off six consecutive games to win the first set, 6-1. Stancu then jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second set and went on to win, 6-4, to put A&M up, 2-0.
Fourth-ranked Sanchez-Quintanar overcame a 5-3 deficit against 60th-ranked Wagner to win the first set, 7-5, at the top of the lineup. Sanchez-Quintanar also fell behind in the second and was trailing 4-2 before the two-time All-American won the next four games to complete the 7-5, 6-4 come-from-behind victory, putting A&M ahead, 3-0.
Urbina, ranked No. 52 in singles, opened her match by winning the first four games against No. 105 Lina Lileikite at the No. 3 line. Urbina went on to win the first set, 6-1, and continued the momentum into the second set, winning the first three games. Urbina went on build a 5-3 lead and had three match points, but Lileikite came back to win the game to get within 5-4. Lileikite also fought off match point in the next game before Urbina closed out the 6-4 second-set victory.
Aggie freshman Anna Mamalat had won her first set, 6-4, against Albuquerque at No. 5. Miami was on the verge of splitting, taking a 6-5 lead in the second set before Mamalat tied the score at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker was knotted at 6-all when Urbina clinched the historic win.
Hristov also was locked in a battle at the No. 6 line. Trailing 5-4 in the first set, Hristov won three consecutive games to close out a 7-5 win in the opening frame. Hristov also made a comeback in the second set, trailing 5-3 before winning the next two games to even the score at 5-5 before play was stopped.
Miami won its only set at the No. 4 line, where 102nd-ranked Riobueno held off Ines Deheza, 7-5. Riobueno jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and was holding a 4-2 lead when play was stopped.
A&M improved to 5-2 and posted its fourth consecutive win in the all-time series against the Hurricanes. This was the teams’ first meeting since 2002, and it marked the first time the teams met in the NCAA tournament.
Texas A&M Head Coach Howard Joffe
(On the win) “It feels absolutely awesome. I couldn’t be more proud of the girls on our team. Anyone who watched the match could tell that we actually outplayed them, and yet Miami is an awful tough team. They fought us and actually started to turn the thing around, so you have to give them credit. I just read in the paper this morning that Miami is the only team in the nation that has made the quarterfinals for the past five years, which talks about what a tough team they are, what a well-coached team they are. I’m delighted with our kids.
“It’s such a silly cliché in sports, but it really does help if you are peaking and playing your best tennis, in this case the NCAAs. I felt like I’ve been able to see this for the past two weeks, our kids just playing better and better and better. Certainly we were focused, but the tennis was really high quality on our part.”
Texas A&M Senior Nazari Urbina:
“We are really happy right now. It was one of our goals, but right now it is finally coming true. We are looking forward to tomorrow and to see who we are going to play, but we are really happy.
(On her match) “I could have won 6-2. I had two games where I was 40-15 and 40-love up, and (Lileikite) is a fighter so she was having to play great and win points. But at the end I was looking at Anna’s court and she was 6-all, so I was like I better clinch now and finish this because things could start getting worse.”
(on being in Final Four) “It feels great. One of my goals when I came to A&M was to give them a conference championship and become one of the top 10, top five teams in the nation. It was one of my goals, and it is a dream come true. It is so special for me and the girls, because right now we are making history at the university. I’m just really happy for my teammates, for the coaches and for all the team and the university, because they just deserve that and even more. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow, but we are really happy.”
(on career win No. 100) “I did know it, but wasn’t really thinking about it. But that is something that feels nice to achieve for the university, and just to represent A&M is great.“No. 3 Texas A&M 4, No. 6 Miami 0
NCAA Championship - Quarterfinal
Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex, Urbana, Ill.
May 19, 2013
1. #4 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (TAMU) def. #60 Stephanie Wagner (MIA), 7-5, 6-4
2. #68 Cristina Stancu (TAMU) def. #81 Kelsey Laurente (MIA), 6-1, 6-4
3. #52 Nazari Urbina (TAMU) def. #105 Lina Lileikite (MIA), 6-1, 6-4
4. Ines Deheza (TAMU) vs. #102 Clementina Riobueno (MIA), 5-7, 2-4 unfinished
5. Anna Mamalat (TAMU) vs. Monique Albuquerque (MIA), 6-4, 6-6 (6-6) unfinished
6. Stefania Hristov (TAMU) vs. Melissa Bolivar (MIA), 7-5, 5-6 unfinished
Doubles (Texas A&M wins the point)
1. #18 Hristov/Stancu (TAMU) def. Albuquerque/Riobueno (MIA), 8-2
2. Sanchez-Quintanar/Wen Sun (TAMU) vs. Bolivar/Laurente (MIA), 5-4 unfinished
3. I. Deheza/Paula Deheza (TAMU) def. Brittany Dubins/Wagner (MIA), 8-2
Order of finish
Doubles: 3, 1
Singles: 2, 1, 3
Texas A&M: 25-3
Live scoring and video of the NCAA Championship matches is available at http://www.fightingillini.com/ncaatennis2013/livestats.html
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