ATHENS, GA -- Texas A&M’s Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (pronounced keen-tah-nar) continues her run in the NCAA Singles Championship after defeating 29th-ranked Petra Niedermayerova of Kansas State, 6-4, 6-3, in the round of 16 on a steamy afternoon at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Only the second player in A&M history to reach the quarterfinals -- Kim Labuschagne accomplished the feat in 1987 – No. 7 seed Sanchez-Quintanar will now face No. 1 seed Allie Will of Florida on Saturday at a time to be announced.
“Today it was really, really hot and it was so hard to play,” Sanchez-Quintanar said. “It felt like my shoes were burning and my head was burning. We were both so tired all the time because it was so hot, so it was a good win for me. (Niedermayerova) was tired, too, because she played two really long matches in the first two rounds. She fought and gave all she had, but in the end I got the win.”
The first set was on serve until Sanchez-Quintanar got the only break to go up, 3-2. Both players then held serve for the remainder of the set.
Sanchez-Quintanar, a junior from Campo de Criptana, Spain, notched a service break in the opening game and went on to take a 3-1 lead, but Niedermayerova broke back and evened the score at 3-3. Niedermayerova, however, was unable to hold her serve for the remainder of the set as Sanchez-Quintanar closed out the match.
“At the beginning, I won the set with just a break,” Sanchez-Quintanar explained. “I started the second set ahead, but I couldn’t keep my serve. The sun was straight above our heads so every time we tried to serve, the sun was in our eyes and we couldn’t see the ball. It was bad for both of us. I told myself I had to be grand in the returns since my serve was not really working. I hung in the games that she was serving, and at the end of the game she made a couple of mistakes and I just tried to keep the ball in, because I wasn’t confident with my shots today like I was yesterday. Yesterday it was easier to hit the ball, but the girl today, the way she hit the ball was harder and it was hard to get it back with the same power. Plus she was coming to the net all of the time. I tried to make my passing shot, but sometimes it didn’t work.”
Sanchez-Quintanar, the 2012 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, felt added pressure as she was facing Niedermayerova, the 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year, for the fourth time this year. Sanchez-Quintanar had won each of the previous meetings, once in the fall, defeating the Wildcat, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, in the consolation quarterfinals at the ITA National Indoor Championships, and posting a straight-set victory in both the conference regular season and in the Big 12 Championship.
“I was really nervous about this game,” Sanchez-Quintanar said. “It was a match I was expected to win and it was the fourth time I played her, but she is the toughest girl in the Big 12 that I played this year. She never gave up and always plays at the same level. She is always there. I’m sad for her because she is a really nice player, a really nice girl. She is hard working and she is a very fair player.”
Sanchez-Quintanar, who extended her winning streak to 12 and improved to 40-5 overall, is looking forward to tomorrow’s match and is glad the pressure won’t be on her.
“I have less pressure because (Will) is the No. 1 player in the country,” she said. “I think she has all the pressure now. I have nothing to lose. Of course I want to win so bad, but it is not the same feeling as today where I knew I had beaten the girl several times and had all the pressure. I think I will have more fun tomorrow than today.”
Will is 25-2 after defeating Georgia State’s Abigail Trer-Apisha 6-1, 6-4 earlier today.
Sanchez-Quintanar’s match-by-match results in NCAA Singles Championship:
5/23 First Round Sanchez-Quintanar def. #52 Alexa Guarachi (Alabama), 6-5, 5-7, 7-5 (3)
5/24 Second Round Sanchez-Quintanar def. #31 Joelle Kissell, (North Carolina State) 6-2, 6-0
5/25 Round of 16 Sanchez-Quintanar def. #29 Petra Niedermayerova (Kansas State), 6-4, 6-3