STANFORD, Calif. – In one of the most highly-anticipated regular season matches in school history, No. 2 Stanford defeated No. 1 Florida 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Sunday’s contest represented a rare No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular-season clash that also served as a rematch of the last two national championships, with Stanford winning in 2010 and Florida in 2011.
Both squads elected not to participate in this year’s National Team Indoor Championships, instead agreeing to a rare home-and-home series between national powers that will commence next year in Gainesville. Last year’s final at the National Team Indoor Championships pitted Stanford against Florida, with the Cardinal prevailing 4-2.
Three months later, Florida claimed an even bigger prize, edging Stanford 4-3 to win its first national title since 2003 and snapping the Cardinal’s NCAA-record 184 match home winning streak at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
However on Sunday, in what figured to be a back-and-forth battle between the nation’s top two programs, the Cardinal quickly squashed any hopes of a dramatic finish by dominating doubles.
Stanford swept all three matches to capture what looked to be a pivotal 1-0 lead.
The Cardinal’s top two doubles teams posted 8-3 victories while the No. 3 duo of Kristie Ahn and Veronica Li rallied back from deficits of 5-2 and 6-4 to notch an 8-6 triumph and please the raucous, sun-drenched crowd.
At that point, Florida (5-1, 0-0 SEC) had work to do.
Meanwhile, Stanford (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) had a statement to make.
Perhaps setting the tone for the match, Mallory Burdette breezed past Lauren Embree at the No. 2 position by a 6-1, 6-2 score. Burdette, who clinched Stanford’s NCAA championship in 2010 as a freshman, dropped the deciding match against Embree one year ago in Florida’s title run. On Sunday, Burdette was first off the court and put Stanford in front 2-0.
On court six, Veronica Li then booked a 6-3, 6-4 win against Olivia Janowicz to give the Cardinal a 3-0 cushion.
Stacey Tan then provided the clincher at the No. 3 spot, besting Joanna Mather 7-6 (5), 6-3 and pushing Stanford’s lead to 4-0.
Making her season debut in singles since returning from injury, Kristie Ahn contributed a 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (4) victory at the No. 4 spot.
Florida received singles wins from Allie Will at No. 1 and Sofie Oyen at No. 5.
The Cardinal has now won three of the last four meetings in the series.