Juricova, Andersson set for final NCAA runs

Although the NCAA Team Championships are over, the postseason festivities are not yet complete. This week, Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center will host the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. The singles tournament is to start later today (although possibly postponed due to rain), and the doubles play will start on Thursday.

The Three Amigos
While the Bears normally send about four or five of their top players to the Singles and Doubles Championships, this year has been an exception, as only three Cal players will participate this week. Jana Juricova will be the top-seeded singles player in the field of 64; No. 23 Mari Andersson and sophomore Tayler Davis also will compete.

In the doubles tournament, Juricova and Andersson, the 2009 NCAA doubles champions, are the top-seeded pair in their last competition together. One surprising omission is the partnership of Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting.  Despite being grouped together in the middle of the season, Goransson and Schutting posted a 9-3 doubles record that featured wins over ranked opponents in USC and UCLA.

How Far Can Juricova Go?
Fresh off her first singles loss of the season to Georgia’s Chelsey Gullickson, Juricova enters the singles championships licking her wounds. But as the No. 1 singles player, high expectations are on the Slovakian to win at least one of the tournaments.

In the singles, Juricova will see heavy competition from get-go, as she face No. 20 Reka Zsilinszka of Duke in the opening round. A two-time All-American, Zsilinszka was the 2009 NCAA Tournament MVP after the Blue Devils swept the Bears, 4-0, in the championship game.

Barring an upset by Zsilinszka, Juricova will duel against either Florida’s Joanna Mather — part of the Gators squad that won the NCAA Championships against the host Cardinal on Tuesday — or Marshall’s Michaela Kissell.

Compared to the singles tournament, Juricova faces lighter doubles competition in the early rounds. The Juricova/ Andersson duo will compete against Tennessee’s Rosalia Alda and Millie Nichols in the opening round. Ranked just outside the top 25, the two Volunteers have not played as a duo in nearly two months.

With no top-20 competition until the quarterfinals, Juricova and Andersson can possibly make a deep run into the tournament, hoping for a repeat of their 2009 success.