No. 7-seed UCLA dominates No. 10-seed Michigan in NCAA tournament
URBANA, Ill. -- In one of the latest completions to a match in NCAA tennis history, seventh-seeded UCLA overcame No. 10-seed Michigan 4-0 on Saturday morning in a Round of 16 showdown at the University of Illinois Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex. The good news for the Bruins (19-5) is that they have a day off before facing No. 2-seed North Carolina in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
Several matches during Friday's day session took much longer to complete than expected and, as a result, UCLA and Michigan did not take the courts until 12:25 p.m. ET for a match that was originally scheduled to begin at 7:00. Despite the near four and a half hour delay, both teams looked strong from the start and the fans who stayed for the late-night festivities were rewarded with three high-quality doubles matches.
UCLA freshmen Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips, who were both playing in their first match in the Round of 16, played like seasoned veterans in their showdown with Kristen Dodge and Ronit Yurovsky at court No. 3, winning 8-2. Although the Bruins struck first, Michigan began to pull away at court No. 1, and it soon became evident that the doubles point would come down to court No. 2, where UCLA's Courtney Dolehide and Pamela Montez were in a tight match with Michigan's Sarah Lee and Mimi Nguyen. With UCLA leading 7-6, Dolehide served for the match and was broken for 7-7. Fortunately, the Bruins were able to break back in the next game, setting up Montez to hold serve for the win. She clinched the point for UCLA on match point to give the Bruins a 1-0 advantage heading into singles play.
Although doubles was close, UCLA dominated singles action, getting out to a great start with first set wins on five of six courts. Dolehide followed up her fantastic doubles win by cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Dodge at court No. 6.
"We have really good team focus and we pump each other up really well," Dolehide said. "It didn't matter what time of the day it was. I'm really happy with how we all competed. Doubles was a little shaky, but we fought through it. That's all you can ask at the NCAAs. You can't control how you're playing; you can just control your effort."
UCLA soon grew its lead to 3-0 when McPhillips, who is ranked 20th in the nation in singles, dispatched 58th-ranked Yurovsky 6-1, 6-2 at court No. 2. It marked the 11th consecutive win for McPhillips, who tallied her team-leading 31st victory of the year on Friday.
Less than a minute after McPhillips' win, third-ranked Robin Anderson clinched the victory for UCLA at court No. 1, where she downed 30th-ranked Emina Bektas 6-3, 6-4 to give the Bruins a 4-0 victory.
When play was suspended, both Montez (court No. 3) and Harrison (court No. 5) were up at set at their respective courts. The only Michigan (23-6) advantage was at court No. 4, where Lee was up 6-3, 3-2 against Chanelle Van Nugyen.
"Our team did a good job," UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster said. "Getting the doubles point relieved some of the stress and pressure from the girls. The team did a great job of being able to keep their energy up throughout the day and coming out and competing hard."