Earlier than cheering followers beneath Friday’s blue skies, No. 7 Stanford ladies’s tennis (24-2, 10-0 PAC 12) placed on a masterful efficiency, soundly defeating No. 10 Ohio State (22-8, 10-1 Massive 10) 4-1 within the NCAA Match’s Spherical-of-16. The Cardinal’s profitable streak has reached 21 in a row.
The match was by no means shut. Starting with the doubles, the Cardinal made an authoritative assertion that they had been the higher staff. Actually, it took practically 20 minutes for the Buckeyes to earn their first sport and Stanford by no means trailed in any set. On courtroom two, graduate scholar Sara Choy and freshman Alexandra Yepifanova completed first, rolling to a 6-2 victory. The match was highlighted by Yepifanova’s highly effective and well-placed serves, opening up the courtroom for Choy’s crisp web volleys.
Subsequent, on courtroom three, the formidable staff of sophomores Connie Ma and Valencia Xu received their set 6-2 with Ma hitting a number of good up-the-alley passing photographs and Xu regular from the baseline. The win was their eleventh straight. At practically the identical time, the No. 16 ranked staff of senior Angelica Blake and freshman Alexis Blokhina triumphed 6-1 on courtroom one, out-playing their Buckeye opponents, No. 37 Irina Cantos Siemers and Sydni Ratliff, in each section. The Cardinal secured the doubles level in solely half an hour.
Within the ensuing singles matches, the Cardinal charged to an early win. No. 44 Blake, who, in singles and doubles, misplaced just one sport your complete afternoon, blanked her Buckeye opponent, 6-0, 6-0. Blake’s sharply angled photographs and her uncanny means to shift forwards and backwards from offense to protection had been on full show.
No. 29 Yepifanova, on courtroom one, adopted with a dominant win over No. 30 Ratliff. Yepifanova broke Ratliff’s serve early after which cruised to a 6-2 first set victory. At 2-0 within the second, Ratliff appeared to twist an ankle. After a prolonged therapy time-out, play resumed and Yepifanova picked up the place she left off, profitable the second set 6-1. All through the match, Yepifanova answered Ratliff’s highly effective groundstrokes with equal if not better energy and with superior consistency and shot placement, placing her opponent on the defensive. Additionally, Yepifanova’s serve was a potent weapon, producing a number of aces and repair winners.
Xu, on courtroom 5, received the clinching level. Her opponent, No. 89 Shelly Bereznyak, had not misplaced a singles match since February however Xu jumped to a 4-0 lead and battled to win the primary set, 7-5. Xu rapidly squelched any Buckeye hopes for a detailed second set. Standing close to the baseline, she took the ball early, dictating the purpose and protecting Bereznyak off-balance. Within the last sport, Xu was down 0-40 earlier than reeling off the ultimate 4 factors, punctuating a 6-0 second-set and match win.
On the time Xu secured the clincher, Choy, on courtroom six, was up a set at 6-4, 4-5. On courtroom three, No. 84 Blokhina, who had misplaced her first set 6-0, confirmed her fortitude by getting back from 1-4 within the second and profitable it in a tiebreaker, simply because the match concluded. The Buckeyes gained their solely level when, on courtroom two, No. 20 Siemers bested No. 18 Ma, 6-1, 6-4.
Afterwards, Yepifanova commented on her singles match: “I’ve seen Sydni play for the reason that juniors. I do know her sport. She’s been within the Fall Nationals too. I noticed her play there, she had an amazing win, however I knew that if I may deal with what I’ve to do — first serve proportion, getting returns in deep and simply taking all of the alternatives I’ve — I knew that the rating would go my method.”
She additionally described what makes her and Choy such an efficient doubles staff, notably on her service video games: “When I’m on the baseline, and Sara is on the web, each of us are actually assured. Sara has nice palms. She loves being up there and I’ve plenty of belief in her as nicely and likewise I’ve belief in my baseline expertise to set her up. Total, persistently hitting and never giving any free factors, that’s what Sara and I do greatest.”
When requested how she was capable of rebound so rapidly from final week’s singles loss to Oklahoma State, her first since February, Yepifanova talked about her psychological preparation and the challenges introduced by managing lecturers and athletics concurrently.
“In opposition to Oklahoma State I used to be in a distinct psychological state. The day previous to Oklahoma State I had two midterms and the day earlier than I had one other one, so it was a busy week coming as much as Oklahoma State,” stated Yepifanova. “However I actually took my time earlier than this one. I rested extra. I felt extra ready mentally and it actually confirmed in lots of features of my sport, not solely my serve.”
The Cardinal now advance to Wednesday’s NCAA Quarterfinals in Orlando, Fla., the place they may meet No. 2 Texas A&M (30-2, 13-0 SEC).
“They’re clearly a very good staff,” Yepifanova stated of the Aggies. “They’ve been taking part in nice, [but] we’re taking part in out of this world. I feel everyone seems to be so assured and everybody has one another’s again, so I feel it’s going to be an amazing match.”