URBANA, Ill. – Texas A&M two-time All-American Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar’s collegiate career came to a close today as she fell in the NCAA Singles Championship round of 16 to defending national champion Nicole Gibbs of Stanford, 6-4, 6-4 , at the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex.
"Cristina's match was an excellent advertisement for collegiate tennis,” A&M second-year head coach Howard Joffe said. “Gibbs and Cris played one of the highest quality matches I have seen.”
Sanchez-Quintanar, the No. 4 seed in the 64-player draw, shot out to a 4-1 lead in the first set, only to see Gibbs rally to win the next five games to win the set, 6-4.
In the second set, Gibbs, a No. 9-16 seed, took the early lead, 3-1, but Sanchez-Quintanar came back to tie the score at 3-3 and put the set back on serve. Gibbs, ranked No. 177 in the world and 13th in the Intercollege Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, then went up a break at 4-3, but Sanchez-Quintanar broke back to knot the score at 4-4. Gibbs, however, would win the next two games to win the match and advance to the quarterfinals.
“Cris led 4-1 in the first set and later Gibbs led 3-1 in the second set, and each time top-class tennis allowed the match to be evened,” Joffe said. “In the end Gibbs made a few extra plays, and she is to be commended for it.”
It was the second win for Gibbs against the Spain native in only the last three days. The two had met Tuesday in the NCAA Championship team finale, with Gibbs rallying to defeat Sanchez-Quintanar, 0-6, 6-2, 6-0, at the No. 1 line to help lead the Cardinal to a 4-3 victory in the title tilt.
Sanchez-Quintanar completes the season 41-9 overall, breaking her previous personal best of 40 wins in a season set last year after advancing to the NCAA singles quarterfinals. The 41 wins ranks second in the all-time A&M career records for most victories in a season, only one shy of the record set by Kim Labuschagne in 1986-87. In addition, Sanchez-Quintanar’s .820 season winning percentage ranks seventh in the A&M season records, and her two-year .844 (81-15) career winning percentage obliterates the previous school record of .765 held by Morgan Frank (2008-11).
Sanchez-Quintanar, along with fellow senior teammates Nazari Urbina and Wen Sun, were instrumental in leading the Aggies to the most historic season in school history, as Texas A&M won the Southeastern Conference regular season title in the Aggies’ inaugural season in the league, advanced past the NCAA quarterfinals for the first time and went on to reach the championship match. With their leadership, the Aggies finished with a record-high 26 wins, and the team will undoubtedly set an all-time high when the final rankings are announced on May 28, smashing the previous record of 15, which has stood since 1986.
"In Cris, Nazari and Sunny, we have had such wonderful talent combined with high-class character, which has resulted in excellent outcomes for our team,” Joffe added. “Above all else, they will be missed for the pleasure they gave the coaches and Aggies."
NCAA Singles Championship results:
Round of 64, Wednesday, May 22
Sabrina Santamaria (2), USC def. Nazari Urbina, Texas A&M, 6-3, 6-2
Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (4), Texas A&M def. Courtney Collins, Memphis, 6-1, 6-2
Round of 32, Thursday, May 23
Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (4), Texas A&M def. Maho Kowase, Georgia, 6-2, 6-1
Round of 16, Friday, May 24
Nicole Gibbs (9-16), Stanford, def. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (4), Texas A&M, 6-4, 6-4
NCAA Doubles Championship results:
Round of 32, Thursday, May 23
Hermon Brhane/Whitney Ritchie (5-8), Oklahoma def. Stefania Hristov/Cristina Stancu, Texas A&M, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M women’s tennis. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M women’s tennis team on Twitter by following @AggieWTEN or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Aggie-Womens-Tennis/143874782434654