ATHENS, Ga. – No. 7 seed Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar of Texas A&M saw her impressive season come to an end as she fell, 6-3, 6-3, to No. 1 seed Allie Will of Florida in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championship this afternoon at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Sanchez-Quintanar ends the season 40-6 (.870), setting an A&M record for the highest winning percentage in a season. Her 40 victories is two shy of the all-time record for most wins in a season, set by Kim Labuschagne (1986-87), who is the only other Aggie to ever reach the quarterfinals at the NCAA tournament.
Will, a junior who has earned All-America honors in singles every year of her three-year career, improves to 26-2 and advances to the semifinals for the first time. She will face Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs, who knocked off defending singles champion Jana Juricova, 6-2, 7-5, in another quarterfinal match-up.
Sanchez-Quintanar and Will were on serve at 3-3 in the opening set before Will fought off two game points to break and take a 4-3 lead. The Gator then won the next two games to close out the set.
“There were a couple points in the first set that probably changed the way the match went,” Sanchez-Quintanar said. “I was down and then went ahead, 3-2, and then the next couple of games were crucial for the first set and probably for the match. She went 4-3 up and then won the next two games.
“It was a really hard moment for me to lose that game. It was really, really hot, and I started to feel a little bit sick on the court and I couldn’t fight any more in the set.”
Will jumped out to a 3-0 lead to open the second set. Sanchez-Quintanar got a break to get within 3-2, but Will broke back to go up, 4-2. The players continued to post breaks until Will held serve to close out the 6-3 victory.
“In the beginning of the second set I was still feeling kind of sick because it was so hot, and then I tried to fight hard” Sanchez-Quintanar said. “I told myself it was hot for her, too, and I started to come back in the second set. After 3-0 down, I came back 3-2 and was playing good tennis. Then again there was a game that was crucial for the set. I got frustrated with some calls by the referee near the end of the game and then she won.
“It was a fair game. We played a good game. We fight hard and have similar ways to play the ball with the spin, and we run all over the place. She is a very good player, and that is why she is No. 1 in the country. If I have to lose to someone, she is a good player to lose to.”
Sanchez-Quintanar, junior from Campo de Criptana, Spain, who was playing in her first season at A&M after playing the 2011 spring season at Maryland, is the fifth A&M player to earn All-America honors but is the program’s first to garner the distinction by virtue of being a top 16 seed in the 64-player tournament. Earlier this season, she reached an A&M-best No. 4 national ranking in singles, and she became the first player in A&M history to be named Big 12 Conference Player of the Year after going 9-0 and earning the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Singles Championship. In addition, Sanchez-Quintanar became the first player in Big 12 history to be named both Big 12 player and newcomer of the year in the same season.
“I’m so disappointed right now, but I’m happy about the season” Sanchez-Quintanar said. “My only goal for next year is to make it to the Sweet 16 with my team.”
Sanchez-Quintanar went 24-1 in dual matches and led the Aggies to a 19-6 record and an appearance in the NCAA second round.
Sanchez-Quintanar’s match-by-match results in NCAA Singles Championship:
5/23 64 Sanchez-Quintanar def. #52 Alexa Guarachi (Alabama), 6-5, 5-7, 7-5 (3)
5/24 32 Sanchez-Quintanar def. #31 Joelle Kissell, (North Carolina State) 6-2, 6-0
5/25 16 Sanchez-Quintanar def. #29 Petra Niedermayerova (Kansas State), 6-4, 6-3
5/26 QF #1 Allie Will (Florida) def. Sanchez-Quintanar, 6-3, 6-3
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