Stanford upends No. 4-seed Georgia despite losing doubles point in quarters
URBANA, Ill. -- No. 12-seed Stanford ripped off four singles wins to knock off No. 4-seed Georgia 4-1 on Sunday afternoon and punch its ticket to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
Following up its five-hour 4-3 upset of No. 5 USC on Friday, the Cardinal (20-4, 8-2 Pac-12) won a match despite losing the doubles point for the first time in two years. Next up is a Monday night semifinal against No. 1 Florida (26-2, 12-1 SEC).
Leading 3-1, Krista Hardebeck provided the clincher with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory against Silvia Garcia in a battle of highly touted rookies at the No. 3 spot.
Stanford has become the lowest-seeded team to reach the semifinals since UCLA advanced to the title match, also as a No. 12-seed back in 2007. The Cardinal lost its No. 2 player and All-American Mallory Burdette, who in September elected to forego her senior season and begin her pro career.
Georgia (24-4, 12-1 SEC) quickly overwhelmed Stanford in doubles, controlling all three courts and securing a 1-0 lead when Lilly Kimbell and Mia King defeated Natalie Dillon and Hardebeck 8-3.
Trailing 1-0, it was Stanford's turn to ambush Georgia. Taking the lead was Kristie Ahn, who dismantled Maho Kowase 6-0, 6-1 on court two and evened the match at one.
Still riding the momentum from Friday's three-set clincher, Ellen Tsay followed with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph against Ayaka Okuno on court five to give Stanford a 2-1 advantage.
Stacey Tan shook off a determined charge from Kate Fuller at the No. 4 spot, booking a 6-4, 7-5 victory in which she had to pull away late in both sets.
With Stanford up 3-1, Gibbs and Hardebeck had both built solid leads in their third sets. Hardebeck ultimately clinched the match with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory against Garcia. Hardebeck earned her first career postseason victory, having lost against USC on Friday after failing to finish her match in the first two rounds.