Christian, Santamaria solidify USC's first doubles national championship trophy
URBANA, Ill. -- USC's Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria carved their names deeper into the Trojan history books Monday, slicing their way to the first NCAA doubles championship in the Trojans' history with a 6-4, 6-3 straight-set victory against UCLA's Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton.
Already holding an ITA/Riviera All-American doubles title and back-to-back Pac-12 and ITA National Indoor doubles crowns, Christian and Santamaria put an extra flourish on their expanding honor roll with the 2013 doubles title.
Back in 1980, Trojans Trey Lewis and Anne White teamed up for the AIAW doubles crown for USC. Not since then, however, had any USC women's doubles team won a national title. At least, until longtime friends Christian and Santamaria paired up as Trojan teammates last season. Christian, a junior, had helped make some USC history before Santamaria arrived when she and then-senior Maria Sanchez reached the 2011 NCAA doubles semifinals.
Last year, Christian and Santamaria fell in the first round of NCAA doubles play. This year, the pair was prepared and hungry for success. They did not surrender a single set during their NCAA doubles run. The Trojan pair took down teams from Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Illinois and Tennessee in order to earn the right to play for it all on Monday.
The Women of Troy lined up against a familiar foe in the title match, facing crosstown rivals Anderson and Morton. The pairs had last squared off in October during the ITA/Riviera All-American semifinals where the Trojans prevailed. Last year was a battle of attrition between the two teams, clashing six times and winding up an even 3-3.
Seeded No. 2 for this year's NCAA run, Christian and Santamaria had only gotten stronger, though. The Trojans' first and only loss of the season came last week during team play, and they regrouped and refocused immediately.
Christian and Santamaria stayed the course, overcoming early breaks in both sets and firing right back. They locked in on key late breaks and held strong to hone in on the victory, taking down Anderson Morton for the title.
The NCAA championship victory also earned the Trojan pair a wildcard into this summer's U.S. Open, as they finished their second collegiate season together with a 37-1 overall record.