STANFORD, Calif. -- No. 5 Stanford dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 10 California on Saturday afternoon during the 15th annual ZOOM Marketing Spring Smash at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
California (18-4, 10-0 Pac-12) claimed its first Pac-12 title in school history, resulting in the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
Saturday’s match represented a rare home loss for Stanford (16-2, 8-2 Pac-12), which saw an opponent celebrate on its home court for only the fifth time in 15 years. For the first time since the 1987 campaign, Stanford has lost two matches at home.
However, the loss is hardly damaging for Stanford, which had already defeated California 5-2 in Berkeley back on March 8. The defending NCAA champion Cardinal, which will likely enter the postseason as a top-8 overall seed, also boasts quality wins against Texas, Rice, Florida and Arizona State.
Stanford entered the afternoon with a chance to earn a share of the Pac-12 title but California quickly took control by capturing the doubles point. The Golden Bears clinched their 1-0 lead with an 8-6 victory at the No. 1 spot, with Kristie Ahn and Carol Zhao losing for only the third time this year and first since mid-October.
Rebounding emphatically at the start of singles, Ahn celebrated her Senior Day by accounting for Stanford’s only point in a 6-3, 6-2 triumph against freshman Denise Starr at the No. 1 spot to improve her overall career record to 94-15.
Otherwise, the Golden Bears, who posted their first win on The Farm since a 5-4 victory back on Feb. 27, 1999, were able to capitalize on several rare losses by the Cardinal. After Klara Fabikova downed Ellen Tsay 6-3, 6-1 at the No. 5 spot for a 2-1 lead, California powered its way to clinch after booking victories against Stanford’s freshman trio, which had entered the match a combined 69-11 overall.
Anett Schutting defeated Zhao 6-3, 7-6 (2) at the No. 3 spot, increasing California’s lead to 3-1. How rare is a loss for Zhao? The Cardinal rookie was upended for the first time in 17 matches and dropped a set for the first time since a three-set win against Cal back in March.
Maegan Manasse followed with the clincher, outlasting Caroline Doyle 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 6 spot. Doyle was riding a 13-match winning streak, which included a three-set win against Manasse in Berkeley. Seconds later, Lynn Chi hung on for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory at the No. 5 position over Taylor Davidson, who entered the match 21-5 overall and had lost only two sets since March. Zsofi Susanyi’s 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory over Krista Hardebeck on court two rounded out the match.