The Aggies doubles team of Stefania Hristov and Cristina Stancu did not fare as well, falling to No. 5-8 seed and ninth-ranked Hermon Brhane and Whitney Ritchie of Oklahoma, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championship.
For the second consecutive day, the tournament was delayed due to rain, forcing several of the men’s and women’s matches to be moved indoors. After being postponed approximately two hours, Sanchez-Quintanar’s match was able to be competed on the outdoor courts.
The delay didn’t affect the Spaniard, who broke Kowase to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set. Kowase also was unable to hold her next serve as Sanchez-Quintanar expanded the lead to 5-1. Kowase broke back to get within 5-2 before Sanchez-Quintanar closed out the frame, 6-2.
Sanchez-Quintanar quickly took a commanding lead in the second set, winning the first five games. Kowase took a game to end the run before Sanchez-Quintanar served out the match for the 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Sanchez-Quintanar improves to 41-8, breaking her previous personal best of 40 wins in a season, set last year after advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals.
Sanchez-Quintanar, who needs one more victory to tie the all-time A&M season record of 42 wins set by Kim Labuschagne in 1986-87, advances to the round of 16, where she faces a rematch against defending NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs of Stanford, Friday at 10 a.m. Gibbs, who is No. 177 in the world and 13th in the Intercollege Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, topped the Aggie, 0-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the team finals, helping the Cardinal capture the championship title.
"Cristina continued the excellent form she has displayed over the last six days with a dominating performance over Kowase from Georgia,” second-year Texas A&M head coach Howard Joffe said. “Tomorrow's match-up against Gibbs will require a very positive mind set from Cris. With respect to skill and ability, I believe it’s a 50/50 match.”
Gibbs, a 9-16 seed in the NCAA tournament, improved to 20-4 and advanced to the round of 16 by defeating Ronit Yurovsky of Michigan in the second round.
Hristov, a freshman, and Stancu, a junior, made their NCAA Doubles Championship debut by winning three consecutive games to come back and nip Brhane and Ritchie, 7-5 in the opening set, but the Sooner duo jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set. The Aggies were unable to overcome the deficit and fell, 6-2, to force a third and decisive set.
Trailing 3-1, the Aggies won three consecutive games to take a 4-3 lead in the final set. Oklahoma countered with its own rally, winning the next three games to close out a 6-4 third-set win to clinch the victory and move on to the round of 16.
"The Oklahoma team really showed fantastic net skills and poaching, which allowed them to get a lead in the deciding set,” Joffe said. “Tina and Stef fought back and came very close in the end."
Hristov and Stancu, named to the NCAA Championship all-tournament team at No. 1 doubles following the team competition, complete their A&M inaugural season with a team-best 22-11 overall record in doubles.
Live scoring and video of the NCAA singles and doubles matches are available at http://www.fightingillini.com/ncaatennis2013/livestats.html
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