Freshman standout Michaela Gordon is making a name for herself in her first months with the Stanford Cardinal. Teaming up with sophomore Emily Arbuthnott, the dynamic duo claimed victory in the doubles bracket of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Fall Championships.
Along with junior Sameer Kumar from the men’s team, three total members from Stanford’s tennis teams competed in the the tournament this past weekend. This ITA tournament is the last and most exclusive invitational this autumn, hosted at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens near Palm Springs, California. It featured top performers from regional tournaments throughout the United States.
In the first round, Gordon and Arbuthnott bested UCLA’s Gabrielle Andrews and Jada Hart in three sets (7-5, 4-6, 11-9). The pair also crushed UVA’s Rose Johanson and Meghan Kelley (3-6, 7-6 (5), 10-4) in the quarterfinals and Duke’s Kelly Chen and Samantha Harris 6-1, 7-5 in the semifinals. In the Sunday morning final, the duo handed No. 6-ranked Alexa Bortles and Arianne Hartono of Ole Miss a two-set defeat (6-4, 6-1), claiming the doubles title for the entire championship.
With a 6-1 total record in their first season together, Arbuthnott and Gordon reached the doubles semi-finals at the ITA Northwest Regional Championships last month in Stockton. This victory is their best performance to date.
The duo competed in singles as well. In the main singles draw, Gordon and Arbuthnott both defeated their first two competitors and made it to the round of 16, just short of the quarterfinals. Gordon topped Duke’s Kelly Chen Wednesday and Ohio State’s Shiori Fukuda on Thursday but fell to Texas’ Bianca Turati in a two-set match Friday. Arbuthnott beat Michigan’s Chiara Lommer and upset Georgia’s No. 6 Katarina Jokic, only to fall to Clemson’s Marie Leduc on Friday.
Ranked second among freshman players, Gordon dominated the regional championships two weeks ago, coming in first place in her first Stanford appearance. She defeated No. 69-ranked Arbuthnott, who beat out the Cardinal women’s star, No. 7-ranked junior Melissa Lord, in the regional semifinals. After such a fiery debut, Gordon did not disappoint as she made to a third round against 2017 NCAA qualifiers and other seasoned competitors.
Kumar, the sole representative of the Cardinal men’s team, was knocked out during the first round of the singles consolation bracket, falling to No. 38-ranked Victor Pham of Columbia (6-3, 5-7, 6-1), on Wednesday and losing his consolation match to UC Santa Barbara’s Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (4-6, 6-2, 7-6) on Thursday. His losses this week come after reaching the quarterfinals at the regional championships, while holding a No. 97 preseason ranking.
The top player from the men’s team, senior Tom Fawcett, currently ranked No. 8 in the nation, did not play at the regional tournament and was thus ineligible to compete at the championships.
The National Fall Championships conclude the official fall tennis schedule for the Cardinal. The next ITA events will commence with the 2018 ITA Kick-Off Weekend in late January, located across 30 different campuses. The men’s and women’s team will take a break from competition until the regular season commences.
Contact Sylvie Ashford at sylviash “at” stanford.edu