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Friday, May 23, 2014

Collins Ousts No. 2 Seed Anderson to Reach Quarterfinals as Temperatures Soar Friday

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Athens, GA--

The heat and humidity prevalent in Athens this time of year was largely absent during the team tournament and only slowly built over the course of the individual tournament. But it arrived for the round of 16 on Friday, and the 92-degree temperatures were just fine with the University of Virginia's Danielle Collins.

"It's funny, but you hear kids that are all tired and mopey from the heat," said the sophomore from St. Petersburg, Florida. "But being from Florida, and playing a lot of the southern tournaments, like Clay Courts, when I come here from Virginia, where we've had so much snow this year, it's like 'wow, this is really nice.'  And everybody else is like, oh, I want to get out of here.  I told my coach before the match, Robin Anderson is not going to like this weather."

Collins and the No. 2 seed from UCLA took the court at 12:30 p.m. and whether it was the weather conditions, the long week for team tournament's Most Outstanding Player, or the effects of her retirement from doubles due to a nosebleed on Thursday, Anderson was not herself.  Collins won the first set 6-1 and was up 5-1 and serving in the second set, before Anderson began her comeback.  The junior from New Jersey got back on serve at 4-5, but Collins managed to scrape out a break to post the 6-1, 6-4 upset.

"Sometimes when you're playing somebody and they're down like that, they have nothing to lose, so they're going to take some chances," said Collins, who transferred to Virginia from Florida after her freshman year. "She started picking up her level a little bit and gave me a run for my money there at the end."

Collins admitted to some surprise at her results this week, which include wins over Northwestern's Veronica Corning in the opening round and Cal's Anett Schutting, a No. 9 seed, in yesterday's second round.

"I didn't have the best year last year, but this year's been really great for me despite injuries," said Collins, who had beaten Anderson in the finals of the USTA Spring National 18s in Mobile back in 2010. "I'm having wrist surgery next Friday, so I'm just really happy to be able to come out here and play and get through it."

Next up for Collins is No. 7 seed Hayley Carter of North Carolina, who defeated No. 9 seed Jenny Julien of St. Mary's 7-5, 6-2.  Carter and Collins met this year in an ACC dual match, with Carter winning 6-2, 6-2.

"She beat me last time, so I'm looking for a rematch," said Collins. "Obviously she's a great player, really talented and a tough fighter, so it's going to be a great match."

The other quarterfinal in the women's bottom half will feature unseeded Ester Goldfeld of Duke against UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen. Goldfeld defeated unseeded Viktoriya Lushkova of Oklahoma State 6-4, 6-3, while Van Nguyen overcame unseeded Carol Zhao of Stanford 7-5, 6-2. Goldfeld and Van Nguyen met in the Team Indoor final, with Goldfeld winning that match 6-4, 7-5.

Goldfeld's teammate Beatrice Capra, the No. 5 seed, eliminated the last Georgia player in singles, defeating Silvia Garcia 7-6(4), 6-2.  Capra will play unseeded Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State, who advanced to the quarterfinals when Stanford's Kristie Ahn retired trailing 6-3, 1-0. Ahn has been ill, possibly with food poisoning or a virus, since Tuesday.

The fourth women's match on Saturday will feature top seed Jamie Loeb of North Carolina against unseeded Lynn Chi of Cal.

Loeb battled Breaunna Addison of Texas, a 9 seed, for nearly two and a half hours before coming away with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.  Addison had dealt Loeb one of her three losses of the year early last fall, and the sophomore, who reached the singles semifinals last year, had also beaten Loeb in the first round of the Easter Bowl ITF in 2012.

"I think this is the first time I've beaten her in singles," said Loeb, who was named the ITA Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. "I lost to her in the fall and I lost to her at Easter Bowl. I don't know if we've played anywhere else. I've beaten her in doubles, but I knew coming into this match it was going to be a tough match, and I was looking forward to it."

Loeb started well, getting two breaks and serving at 4-1. But Addison fought back, broke Loeb when she was serving for the set at 5-4 40-0 and saved three more set points when Loeb was again serving for the first set at 6-5.  Addison made two backhand errors to finally give Loeb the first set.

At 4-all in the second set, Loeb got the break and went up 40-15, but double faulted on her first match point. On the second, she made a good first serve and when Addison sent a return wide, she had earned her place in the quarterfinals.

"It feels good to kind of get that out of the way," said Loeb. "The majority of that match I did not play my best tennis, and I think I learned a lot from this match and what I need to do for the rest of the tournament."

Chi reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Jennifer Brady of UCLA.  The pair had met in the semifinals of the Pac-12 championships in Ojai last month, with Brady, the eventual champion, winning 6-4, 7-5.

"My coach said in the match would come down to a few points, and I guess today the few points went my way," said the sophomore from Florida, who saved a match point in her first round victory over No. 9 seed Emina Bektas of Michigan. "She had a few more errors today than she had in the other match. It wasn't her best day, but I stayed in there and tried my best."

The women's seeds have been reduced to four--Loeb(1), Capra(5), Carter(7) and Van Nguyen(9), while the men have only two seeds remaining in the final eight.

UCLA freshman Mackenzie McDonald eliminated Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss, a No. 9 seed, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will take on Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas, another No. 9 seed.  Hess-Olesen, who also reached the quarterfinals last year, trailed unseeded Shane Vinsant of Texas A&M 7-5, 3-1 and was serving at 0-40 before holding in that game and going on to post a 5-5, 7-6(3), 6-3 victory.

Unseeded Ben McLachlan of Cal defeated unseeded Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt 6-3, 6-4 and will take on No. 2 seed Marcos Giron of UCLA, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win over unseeded Nathan Pasha of Georgia. McLachlan and Giron's Pac-12 match last month went unfinished in the Bruins' 4-1 win.

Roberto Cid of South Florida ended the run of Oklahoma's Dane Webb 6-2, 7-5 and he will meet Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine after Sarkissian's 7-6(1), 6-2 over Leandro Toledo of Minnesota.  The fourth quarterfinal will feature Harvard's Denis Nguyen and Florida's Florent Diep after Nguyen's 6-4, 6-1 win over Andrew Adams of South Carolina and Diep's 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt.

Nguyen attributes his success this partially to being finished with school.

"Going to Harvard and playing tennis is very difficult because we have to balance academics and athletics at the same time," said the junior from California. "During the regionals, I had to take finals on the road. Here, there's nothing holding me back, and I'm just focusing on tennis, on one thing, so it's been really nice."

Nguyen is the first quarterfinalist from Harvard since Jonathan Chu reached the semifinals in 2005, and he has served as a role model for Nguyen.

"Jon and I are good friends," said Nguyen, who said he also hits occasionally with former Arkansas All-American Blake Strode, who is now at Harvard Law. "He's an inspiration to me. He's always given me advice going forward and I always look up to him a lot."

Nguyen is interested in playing professional events once he graduates.

"I've always wanted to go to medical school, so being pre-med and a student-athlete is all I have time for, but I'm planning on taking a gap year, take a year off maybe two, maybe play on the tour," said Nguyen. "I'm trying to figure that out right now."

The doubles quarterfinals are also set, with any team not already seeded attaining All-American status. Five men's teams and three women's teams earned that designation today.

Singles begin at noon on Saturday, with the first doubles match scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Complete draws and results can be found at georgiadogs.com.