Nicole Gibbs is one of only five players to win back-to-back NCAA Division I women’s singles championships.
© Stanford Athletics
Stanford junior Nicole Gibbs and Virginia senior Jarmere Jenkins led a wave of American success last week at the NCAA Division I Championships at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill. The two helped lead their teams to dramatic title runs, while Gibbs won her second consecutive NCAA singles title and Jenkins came one match short of capturing the "triple crown" of college tennis, reaching the singles final and capturing the doubles championship.
Gibbs, from Cincinnati, defeated Nebraska senior Mary Weatherholt of Prairie Village, Kan., 6-2, 6-4, to become the fifth player in history – and the fourth from Stanford – to win back-to-back NCAA Division I women’s singles championships, joining Amber Liu (Stanford, 2004-05), Laura Granville (Stanford, 2000-01), Lisa Raymond (Florida, 1992-93) and Patty Fendick (Stanford, 1986-87).
An American has now won six of the last seven NCAA Division I women’s singles championships. Traditionally, when an American wins the NCAA Division I men’s or women’s singles title, the USTA strongly considers giving that player a wild-card entry into the US Open main draw. Gibbs, 20, currently ranked a career-high No. 177 in the WTA rankings, received a wild card into the US Open main draw last year after beating then-teammate Mallory Burdette to win the title as a sophomore.
Meanwhile, Jenkins, from College Park, Ga., fell just short of becoming the fifth straight American to win the men’s singles title and the first man in 12 years to win the NCAA singles, doubles and team titles in the same year. Ohio State junior Blaz Rola of Slovenia beat Jenkins in the singles final, 7-6 (8), 6-4.
American doubles teams won both the NCAA men’s and women’s championships. Jenkins and Mac Styslinger of Virginia defeated Texas’ Chris Camillone and David Holiner, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, in the men’s final. In the women’s doubles final, Southern California’s Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria beat UCLA’s Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton, 6-4, 6-3.
Gibbs and No. 12 seed Stanford claimed a suspenseful 4-3 win over No. 3 Texas A&M to win its 17th NCAA women’s team title a week prior to the individual tournament. The Cardinal women’s tennis team kept alive Stanford athletics’ streak of winning at least one NCAA team championship for 36 consecutive years.
Virginia, meanwhile, captured its first NCAA men’s team championship, also in dramatic fashion, with a 4-3 win over UCLA that nearly went to the Bruins. Virginia’s Mitchell Frank defeated UCLA’s Adrien Puget, 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, after Puget was called for touching the net on a match point that would have clinched victory for UCLA.
Tennis Channel will air highlights of the NCAA Division I team championships on the NCAA Championships Highlight Show presented by the USTA, premiering on June 8 at 2:30 p.m. ET. The show, hosted by Scott Treibly, is scheduled to air an additional four times: June 8 at 8 p.m. ET; June 13 at 12:30 p.m. ET; June 14 at 4 p.m. ET; and June 27 at 11 a.m. ET.