Earlier than cheering followers underneath Friday’s blue skies, No. 7 Stanford ladies’s tennis (24-2, 10-0 PAC 12) placed on a masterful efficiency, soundly defeating No. 10 Ohio State (22-8, 10-1 Massive 10) 4-1 within the NCAA Event’s Spherical-of-16. The Cardinal’s successful streak has reached 21 in a row.
The match was by no means shut. Starting with the doubles, the Cardinal made an authoritative assertion that they have been the higher crew. In truth, it took practically 20 minutes for the Buckeyes to earn their first sport, and Stanford by no means trailed in any set. On court docket two, graduate scholar Sara Choy and freshman Alexandra Yepifanova completed first, rolling to a 6-2 victory. A spotlight of the match was Yepifanova’s highly effective and well-placed serves, which opened up the court docket for Choy’s crisp internet volleys.
Subsequent, on court docket three, the formidable crew of sophomores Connie Ma and Valencia Xu gained its set 6-2 with Ma hitting a number of good up-the-alley passing pictures and Xu regular from the baseline. The win was their eleventh straight. At practically the identical time, the No. 16-ranked crew of senior Angelica Blake and freshman Alexis Blokhina triumphed 6-1 on court docket one, out-playing their Buckeye opponents, No. 37 Irina Cantos Siemers and Sydni Ratliff, in each part. The Cardinal secured the doubles level in solely half an hour.
Within the ensuing singles matches, the Cardinal charged to an early win. No. 44 Blake, who misplaced just one sport the whole afternoon throughout each singles and doubles, blanked her Buckeye opponent, 6-0, 6-0. Blake’s sharply angled pictures and her uncanny means to shift backwards and forwards from offense to protection have been on full show.
No. 29 Yepifanova adopted with a dominant win over No. 30 Ratliff on court docket one. Yepifanova broke Ratliff’s serve early after which cruised to a 6-2 first-set victory. At 2-0 within the second, Ratliff appeared to twist an ankle. After a prolonged therapy time-out, play resumed and Yepifanova picked up the place she left off, successful the second set 6-1. All through the match, Yepifanova answered Ratliff’s highly effective groundstrokes with equal — if not larger — energy and with superior consistency and shot placement, placing her opponent on the defensive. Additionally, Yepifanova’s serve was a potent weapon, producing a number of aces and repair winners.
Xu, on court docket 5, gained the clinching level. Her opponent, No. 89 Shelly Bereznyak, had not misplaced a singles match since February, however Xu jumped to a 4-0 lead and battled to win the primary set, 7-5. Xu rapidly squelched any Buckeye hopes for a detailed second set. Standing close to the baseline, she took the ball early, dictating the purpose and conserving Bereznyak off-balance. Within the ultimate sport, Xu was down 0-40 earlier than reeling off the ultimate 4 factors, punctuating a 6-0 second-set and match win.
On the time Xu secured the clincher, Choy was up a set at 6-4, 4-5 on court docket six. On court docket three, No. 84 Blokhina, who had misplaced her first set 6-0, confirmed her fortitude by getting back from 1-4 within the second and successful it in a tiebreaker, simply because the match concluded. The Buckeyes gained their solely level when, on court docket two, No. 20 Siemers bested No. 18 Ma, 6-1, 6-4.
Afterwards, Yepifanova commented on her singles match: “I’ve seen Sydni play because the juniors. I do know her sport. She’s been within the Fall Nationals too. I noticed her play there, she had a fantastic win, however I knew that if I might give attention to what I’ve to do — first serve proportion, getting returns in deep and simply taking all of the alternatives I’ve — I knew that the rating would go my manner.”
She additionally described what makes her and Choy such an efficient doubles crew, notably on her service video games: “When I’m on the baseline and Sara is on the internet, each of us are actually assured. Sara has nice fingers. She loves being up there and I’ve quite a lot of belief in her as effectively, and likewise I’ve belief in my baseline abilities to set her up. General, constantly hitting and never giving any unfastened factors, that’s what Sara and I do finest.”
When requested how she was in a position to rebound so rapidly from final week’s singles loss to Oklahoma State, her first since February, Yepifanova talked about her psychological preparation and the challenges offered by managing teachers and athletics concurrently.
“In opposition to Oklahoma State I used to be in a special psychological state. The day previous to Oklahoma State I had two midterms and the day earlier than I had one other one, so it was a busy week coming as much as Oklahoma State,” stated Yepifanova. “However I actually took my time earlier than this one. I rested extra. I felt extra ready mentally and it actually confirmed in lots of points of my sport, not solely my serve.”
The Cardinal now advance to Wednesday’s NCAA Quarterfinals in Orlando, Fla., the place they’ll meet No. 2 Texas A&M (30-2, 13-0 SEC).
“They’re clearly a very good crew,” Yepifanova stated of the Aggies. “They’ve been taking part in nice, [but] we’re taking part in out of this world. I feel everyone seems to be so assured and everybody has one another’s again, so I feel it’s going to be a fantastic match.”