For the second consecutive year, Jana Juricova will play for the NCAA singles title.
In Sunday’s semifinal match, the top-seeded Juricova defeated Stanford’s eighteenth-ranked Nicole Gibbs in a tight three-set match, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (2), on Gibbs’ home court at Taube Tennis Center. Looking for her first ever NCAA singles crown, Juricova will play against Gibbs’ teammate, Stacey Tan on Monday.
After sailing past Georgia’s Chelsey Gullickson, 6-3, 6-0, in a replay of the 2010 Singles Championship on Saturday, Juricova had to battle from the first set on to keep up Gibbs. Throughout the match, neither Juricova nor Gibbs took the upper edge, and the match turned out to be a grueling tussle with two tie-breaks in the first and third sets.
But as the match deepened in the third set, the stamina gap between Juricova and Gibbs began to show — Gibbs had a 4-3 lead and was up, 40-15, but failed to win the point and her deficit widened to 5-3. After tying the set at 6-6, Juricova never looked back as she cruised to win the tie-break and the match.
With less than an hour of rest, Juricova was scheduled to play the doubles semifinals against Gibbs’ teammates Hilary Barte and Mallory Burdette—the Slovakian couldn’t pull another dominant performance, as she and senior Mari Andersson lost to the Cardinal duo, 6-1, 6-4.
For most of the match, the top-seeded pair of Juricova and Andersson looked outmatched against Barte and Burdette. After losing the first set with little fight, Juricova and Andersson were down in the second set, 3-0. Although they managed to catch up to 5-4, they could not close up the gap. The loss brought an end to their 2009 repeat hopes and to Andersson’s career at Cal.
Seung Y. Lee covers women’s tennis.