In the first three days of the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, senior Mari Andersson produced the biggest upset of the tournament — bouncing No. 2 Maria Sanchez of USC, 6-2, 6-3, in Thursday’s second round of singles at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center.
After defeating Georgia Tech’s Jillian O’Neill in a 6-3, 6-3 victory Wednesday, the 23rd-ranked Andersson came out roaring the next day against Sanchez, winning the first five points of the match and eventually the first set. Although Sanchez had a great start in the second set, leading 3-1, Andersson wrestled back to tie the set. With momentum at her side, Andersson never looked back, as she gathered the next three points to finish off the Trojan.
One of 16 players left in the singles tournament, Andersson faced a familiar foe in Arizona State’s No. 12 Jacqueline Cako on Friday, but for the first time in three tries, the Swede defeated Cako in two sets, 6-3, 6-0, to advance to the quarterfinals.
Alongside Andersson, top-seeded Jana Juricova made it into the quarterfinals, defeating No. 16 Venise Chan of Washington, 6-3, 6-2. After blazing past Duke’s Reka Zsilinszka and Florida’s Joanne Mather within two-set wins in the first two rounds, Juricova carried her momentum into Friday’s match and barred any chance of an upset by the fellow Pac-10 opponent.
In doubles, the top-seeded duo of Andersson and Juricova took the first steps in their quest to repeat their 2009 championship run. They easily won against Tennessee’s Rosalla Alda and Millie Nichols, 6-3, 6-2 in Thursday’s first round and advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Wake Forest’s Kathryn Talbert and Kayla Duncan, 7-5, 6-3 on Friday.
Seung Y. Lee covers women’s tennis.