National

NCAA women's QFs bring Top 8 teams to Orlando  

Arthur Kapetanakis | May 17, 2019


ORLANDO, Fla. – The NCAA Championships have brought, quite literally, the best of the best women’s tennis teams to the USTA National Campus. The Top 8 teams in the country all navigated through the 64-team tournament draw to set up a dream schedule of heavyweight quarterfinal matchups on Friday.

 

No. 2 North Carolina will duel with No. 7 UCLA to kick off the day, with the Tar Heels coming in as the ACC regular-season and tournament champions.

 

“That’s something that we’ve talked about recently as a group, which I think maybe puts a target on our back,’ said UNC junior Makenna Jones. “But I don’t think we take it as much as something to prove. We take it more as we have something to earn.”

 

At ITA Indoors in February, the Tar Heels defeated the Bruins, 4-1. In the final of that event, UNC lost to the No. 1 team in the country, the Georgia Bulldogs. To this point, it is the only blemish on their 32-1 record.

 

The top-seeded Bulldogs, whose perfect 23-0 record was sullied by South Carolina in the SEC tournament final, will face No. 8 Vanderbilt in the day’s second match. Georgia beat its conference rivals, 4-1, in its regular-season finale, but the Commodores are excited for another shot at the top dogs.

 

“We know we can get really close to them," said sophomore Fernanda Contreras. “We’re just going to focus on every single court and just have fun out there, honestly.”

 

Stanford, the No. 3 seeds and defending champs, will battle No. 6 Pepperdine in the day’s third match. The two California schools will have to adjust to the Orlando climate.

 

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a west coast NCAA Championship, so we’ve been adjusting every single year,” said Stanford head coach Lele Forood. “The conditions are what they are. We’ve got very seasoned players; they play in these conditions a lot. We get two days to acclimate, and we’ll just be ready to play.”

 

In the nightcap, No. 4 South Carolina will square off against No. 5 Duke. The SEC champions come in full of confidence on a 13-match winning streak. After taking out Georgia to win the conference title, they fear no one.

 

“We don’t really pay attention to our opponent,” South Carolina senior Ingrid Martins said when asked to assess the match against the Blue Devils. “We want to take care of our stuff before taking care of their side. I think we just need to keep the mentality to win every point, every match and take on any opponent. I think we’re ready for anything.”

 

Live coverage of Friday’s NCAA Championships will be featured on Tennis Channel from 5 p.m. ET.

 

For more, visit the USTA National Campus tournament homepage.

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