URBANA, IL - Clemson sophomore Yana Koroleva fell to defending NCAA Singles Champion Nicole Gibbs of Stanford, 6-1, 6-1, in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Singles Championships in Urbana, IL. Koroleva ends the season at 28-8, and became just the fourth player in school history to reach the round of eight in the 64-player field.
With Gibbs leading, 4-1, in the first set, the match was halted due to weather, and they finished the match at the Atkins Indoor Tennis Center, which is adjacent to the outdoor courts. The two players waited for an hour and a half for an open court inside. When play resumed, Gibbs was sharp, capturing eight of the nine games played inside.
“Hats off to Gibbs,” said Head Coach Nancy Harris, who accompanied one of her players to the round of eight for the first time since Julie Coin in 2005. “She (Gibbs) was basically a wall. I didn’t think Yana was truly on her game, but some of the shots that were working for her weren’t really there today. Gibbs played a great match, and Yana fought with all of her heart as she always does. She leave everything on the court. She’s one of the greatest competitors to come through the program. But today, Gibbs was better. We congratulate her on her performance.”
Koroleva, an 2013 All-ACC selection and All-American, put together a strong run through the tournament, which included upsetting the No. 5 overall seed in the round of 16, and two other wins over top-50 players.
“It was a magnificent run for Yana,” said Harris. “She was without a doubt one of the best in that nation and we are proud of that, and they way she represents us with class and beautiful tennis. She showed she can do some things she hadn’t done before on the court, and beat so many of the great players in the country.”
The two players entered the match as arguably the hottest players in the country, with Gibbs winning 11 in a row and Koroleva victorious in each of her previous 12 matches, and 18 of her last 19. Gibbs’ run included wins over the nation’s No. 1 player (6-0, 6-1), No. 2 player (7-6, 6-2), and the No. 4 player twice. Ten of Koroleva’s 12 wins had come against top-100 competition, including two wins over top-ten players.
Gibbs defeated Koroleva for the second time this season, following a 6-2, 6-2 win on Feb. 23 in a dual match. On Saturday, Koroleva was unable to get anything consistent going against the Cardinal junior. Her loss was her first since April 2, and before that, she had not lost since playing Gibbs previously on Feb. 23.
Koroleva’s loss puts an end to the Clemson women’s tennis program’s 2013, a success from nearly every angle. The team, which did not have a single junior or senior on the roster, advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, had three All-ACC selections, three NCAA Singles participants, and seven wins against top-25 teams.
“It means the world to the program, and shows us we can be a part of the best of the best,” said Harris. “She (Koroleva) set the standard we hope that all of our players are excited. The other two players (Gumulya and Jeukeng), it was great for all of them to be here. Any time a player goes to the elite eight, it means a great deal. I could not be any more proud of Yana. She’ll be one of the women in this program that go down in the history books.”
Rd. of 64: #40 Beatrice Gumulya (CU) def. Dominique Harmath (RICE), 6-3, 7-5
Rd. of 64: #16 Yana Koroleva (CU) def. #23 Jenny Jullien (SMC), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Rd. of 64: #76 Cindy Chala (VCU) def. #33 Liz Jeukeng (CU), 6-0, 5-7, 7-6(2)
Rd. of 32: #7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti (UNC) def. #40 Beatrice Gumulya (CU), 2-6, 6-0, 6-2
Rd. of 32: #16 Yana Koroleva (CU) def. #49 Zoe De Bruycker (UNC), 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
Rd. of 16: #16 Yana Koroleva (CU) def. #5 Zsofi Susanyi (CAL), 7-5, 7-6(6)
Quarterfinals (Sat.): #13 Nicole Gibbs (STAN) def. #16 Yana Koroleva (CU), 6-1, 6-1