ATHENS, GA -- Anna Lubinsky of Texas A&M rallied late in every set but came up short in a 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-2 loss to defending champion and fifth-seeded Susie Babos of the University of California in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship at the University of Georgia McWhorter Courts in Athens, Ga.
Lubinsky, a senior from Richardson, Texas, dropped the first three games of the opening set and trailed 4-1 before reeling off three straight games to tie the score. Lubinsky also tied the score at 5-all before Babos won the next two games to close out the set.
“Anna had opportunities and Babos was getting frustrated,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said, “but Babos really stepped up her game at key times.”
Lubinsky, ranked No. 25 in the nation, fought off three match points in a tiebreaker to complete a dramatic comeback in the second set and earn a split.
After falling behind 4-0 to begin the set, Lubinsky won five consecutive games to take her first lead of the match. Lubinsky then went up 40-love before Babos rallied to win the game and tie the set. Babos also took the next game to take a 6-5 lead, but Lubinsky won the ensuing game to even the score at 6-6 and force a tiebreaker.
Lubinsky trailed 6-3 in the 7-point tiebreaker before ripping off five straight points to win the tiebreaker and the set.
“I talked to Anna about trusting her shots, just relax and go for your shots,” Kleinecke said. “Anna loves to hit the overhead, and at 6-3 in the tiebreaker, Babos hit a lob just inside the baseline. Anna was standing about on the baseline and hit an overhead winner at match point. That turned the whole tiebreaker around. After a long point, Anna then ripped a forehand down the line. It was a perfect example of just trusting your shots, and if she was going to go down, she was going to go down swinging. I was so proud of her.”
Lubinsky dropped the first four games of the third set. She got back within 4-2 before Babos closed out the match by taking the next two games.
“After falling down, 3-0, Anna had nothing left,” Kleinecke said. “I was hoping she would get a second wind, but she started cramping and it was just too hard to come back. She had done a great job of battling when she was down, but there were too many times in the match that she had to come back from deficits.
“I’m proud of what Anna has accomplished this year and during her career. This was a tough draw, but she did a great job and gave herself a chance to win. She battled and fought and played with a lot of heart, just like she has done her entire career.”
Lubinsky, a three-time Big 12 singles champion who was making her second appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship, ends her illustrious four-year career with a 109-46 mark, ranking second in the A&M all-time record for wins.