Danielle Collins, Lynn Chi to play in singles final, SEC matchup in doubles
ATHENS, Ga. -- Virginia sophomore Danielle Collins advanced to the NCAA DI Women's Singles final with a win against Duke's Ester Goldfeld in a semifinal match on Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia.
Collins is the first Virginia women's player in school history to play in the NCAA quarterfinals or higher during her impressive run at the tournament.
Down 5-4 and 6-5 in the third set of her semifinal match, Chi rallied both times to break Georgia State’s Abigail Tere-Apisah and tie the match. Ultimately, playing in her first third-set tiebreaker of the postseason, the 24th-ranked Golden Bear prevailed, 7-2, to knock off the 22nd-ranked Panther, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) and reach the national final.
“It feels great to be in the final,” said Chi. “It was not something I was expecting, but it feels nice. It was a really good match, and she played really well too. We just kept exchanging blows.”
The Cal sophomore (38-10 record) brings a five-match winning streak into the championship and will mark only the second time this tournament that Chi is ranked higher than her opponent.
Chi is the first Bear to play in the singles final since 2011, when Jana Juricova became Cal’s second NCAA singles champion. Former Cal star Suzi Babos won the title in 2006.
“It’s a huge honor to make a national championship final,” said Cal head coach Amanda Augustus. “It’s just speaks volumes about our program and how hard the girls work. We’ve talked all year about the depth of our program. Seeing Lynn take advantage of this opportunity and peak at the right time is very exciting. We’re very excited to have Cal represented in the final.”
Georgia's second-seeded doubles pair of Lauren Herringand Maho Kowase earned the chance to play in Monday's doubles championship with a 6-4, 7-5 win against Auburn's pair of Pleun Burgmans and Emily Flickinger on Sunday.
It marks the fifth time that a Georgia tandem has made the national finals, but Herring and Kowase are vying to be the first Bulldogs pair to win the title.
"We came out and got the lead in the first set and were playing fantastic," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "But it's the NCAA tournament so you know you're playing some good servers and big hitters and its going to turn into an exciting match. The second set was super-exciting. It was great to get that late break and serve it out. It was high level tennis from both teams. It was a lot of fun. Our girls are loose and really enjoying this ride."
Georgia grabbed the early momentum in the first set, using two early breaks to take the set 6-4. After Auburn stole an early break in the second set, Georgia fought back to advance to the finals with a 7-5 second-set win.
"When you first start the tournament, you don't think this far ahead," Herring said. "Now that we're actually here, it's really cool. It's awesome to be at home. We have the best fans. It's awesome out here."
The historic season continues for Alabama women's tennis as it will be represented in an NCAA championship final for the first time in program history with Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe vying for the doubles crown. The Crimson Tide duo advanced to the championship match with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 victory against Duke's Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar.
Jansen and Routliffe have now won nine consecutive matches improving to 21-4 overall this season.
Alabama, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, cruised through the first set without dropping a game for the 6-0 win. In the second, fifth-ranked Duke earned a pair of breaks, one of which UA was able to get back early on. Trailing 5-3 in the set, and 15-40 in the game, the Tide rallied to hold and keep the set alive. In the next game, however, Capra and Mar would put it away after a back-and-forth battle for the final point to take the set, 6-4. Jansen and Routliffe got off to a strong start in the third set, leading 3-0, before the Blue Devils came back to win the next two games. From there, it was all Alabama as Jansen and Routliffe went on to take the final three games of the set for the 6-2 win.
The Alabama-Georgia final on Monday will be the third meeting this season, all of which have come in the past six weeks. In the regular-season matchup in Athens, as well as the Southeastern Conference tournament championship in Columbia, Missouri, Jansen and Routliffe won, 8-3.