The No. 10 Stanford women’s tennis team (9-2) got back on track this weekend with dominant victories over unranked Utah and No. 47 Colorado to open the Pac-12 conference play. The Cardinal entered the weekend having lost 4-3 in back-to-back matches versus No. 2 Florida and No. 7 Cal — the team’s first consecutive losses since 1983, an incredible testament to the program’s consistent success.
The Cardinal dominated over a struggling Utah team that had lost three of their last five matches. Stanford earned the doubles point with a pair of 8-3 victories at the No. 1 and 2 spots. In singles play, junior Krista Hardebeck and sophomore Caroline Doyle put Stanford up 3-0 with straight-set victories at the No. 4 and 3 spots. Ellen Tsay, Stanford’s rock-solid senior, clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Utah’s Alexia Petrovic at the No. 5 spot. The team closed out the remaining three inconsequential matches to earn a 7-0 shutout.
Things went similarly for Stanford on Saturday against the visiting Colorado Buffs. Stanford cruised in doubles play, earning a 1-0 lead in under 45 minutes with victories at the No. 1 and 2 spots. With an 8-2 victory on Court 1, the No. 3 pairing in the nation of sophomores Taylor Davidson and Carol Zhao moved to 9-1 on the season.
The Cardinal posted arguably their most dominant performance of the year in singles play, sweeping the Buffs on Courts 1 through 5 while dropping a measly 13 total games. Sophomore Nora Tan, playing in her first dual match for the Cardinal, lost to Colorado’s Ashley Tiefel 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 6 spot to grant the Buffs a consolatory point.
Despite the strong start to conference play, the team’s biggest challenge of the season lies ahead. The Cardinal will rest up until Mar. 21, when they travel to southern California for a doubleheader against rivals No. 12 UCLA and No. 3 USC. Stanford will have its hands full with both teams, who boast undefeated home records and victories against top-5 opponents.
The Cardinal will have their work cut out for them, as they try to capture their 15th Pac-12 championship in the last 18 years.
Contact Neel Ramachandran at neelr ‘at’ stanford.edu.