Florida’s Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) fought back and forced a third set, but couldn’t close out Stanford’s third-ranked Nicole Gibbs, who won 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, in the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championships on Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
“Allie played her best match of the entire tournament,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “It was a great match against Nicole. You have to give a lot of credit to Nicole, she found a way in the third set. There was a pivotal game when she was up 3-1 and made it 4-1. She found a way to get that game and that was the difference. If it had been 3-2 it would have been a different match.
“Allie really made it tough and physical in the second set with some deep, big heavy forehands in the second set and was able to wear Nicole down a little,” Thornqvist continued. “Then there was the 10-minute, heat-rule break and I think Nicole got her legs back a bit and got off to a hot start in the third set.
“I’m really, really proud of Allie. She played better each match during this tournament.”
Gibbs jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start the match, up one break, and the rest of the frame was on-serve, before the Cardinal was able to get her second break against the top-seeded Gator and take the first set.
Will fought back by breaking Gibbs twice to begin the second set en route to a quick 3-0 lead. Gibbs broke back and the competitors held serve for the next three games before Gibbs broke again and evened the set at 4-all. Will dug deep and broke back on her second chance and served out to force a deciding third.
Will had one break point in the first game of the third set, but Gibbs staved that off and held, before capitalizing on her second break point to take a 2-0 lead. Will then blitzed back by losing just one point on Gibbs’ serve, but couldn’t hold and fell behind a break and 3-1. Gibbs then held for a 4-1 lead after Will had forced duce and then staved off a game-point in the sixth game and broke again for the 5-1 lead. Will came right back and won eight of the next 11 points and cut the deficit to 5-3, but Gibbs served out at love to advance to Monday’s final where she will play Stanford teammate Mallory Burdette for the singles title.
This was the third collegiate meeting between Will and Gibbs, each of which have gone three sets.
Will won this year’s regular-season dual match decision 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Feb. 12 in Stanford and Gibbs took last year’s meeting on May 27 in the round of 16 at the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3).
Will ends her junior campaign with a 26-3 record, including a 109-13 mark in her career.
NCAA Women’s Singles & Doubles Championships
Dan Magill Tennis Complex * Athens, Ga.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
NCAA Singles Semifinals (4)
#3 Nicole Gibbs (3), STANFORD def. #1 Allie Will (1), FLORIDA, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
#5 Mallory Burdette (5), STANFORD def. #13 Zsofi Susanyi (9-16), CALIFORNIA, 6-2, 6-2
Courtesy UF Communications