Brittany Berckes and Alicia Menezes Repeat As NCAA Doubles Champions, Finicane Wins Singles Crown

Posted on May 18th, 2008 by

Brittany Berckes and Alicia Menezes of Amherst College successfully defended their 2007 NCAA Doubles Title by defeating Kristin Cobb and Marta Drane of Denison University 6-4, 6-3 at the 2008 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Berckes and Menezes defeated Tshema Nash and Sabra Rogers of Emory University in the semifinal round of doubles play 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 for a spot in the final, while Cobb and Drane defeated Jennifer Chui and Amy Staloch of Carnegie Mellon University 6-2, 6-4 to punch their ticket to the final.

Cobb and Drane broke Berckes and Menezes early in the first set, but that did not phase the defending champions. Berckes and Menezes did not break away from their game plan, as they stayed at the net forcing the Denison duo to execute well-placed passing shots and high deep lobs. The Amherst team took the first set 6-4.

Cobb and Drane showed their resiliency in the second set as they again broke Berckes and Menezes early in the second set. However, the experience of the Amherst duo proved to be too much as they continued to apply pressure at the net for volley winners or unforced Denison errors. Berckes and Menezes won the last three service games of the set to win the match 6-4, 6-3. The Amherst pair become the fourth consecutive doubles team to be back-to-back champions dating back to 2001.

In the singles final between Siobhan Finicane and Cary Gibson, Finicane won three straight service games for a 5-2 lead in the first set. Gibson held serve to bring the score to 5-3, but was unable to break Finicane’s serve in the next game as Finicane won the set 6-3.

However, everyone in the crowd knew the match was far from over as Cary Gibson became known as the comeback kid on the tennis grounds with several come-from-behind three-set victories. Today was no different. After Finicane broke to go up 5-2 in the second set, Gibson dug deep to earn one of the service breaks back as she won the ensuing game on Finicane’s serve. Gibson was not about to give up without a fight, though, as she won the remaining four games with a series of blistering two-handed backhands to even the match at one set apiece at 7-5 in the second set.

Each player traded service breaks in the second set, before Finicane broke Gibson twice for a 4-1 lead thanks to hustling on the baseline and well-placed first serves. Gibson showed more grit in the next service game as she erased one service break to cut the margin to 4-2. Finicane was not about to let the set get away from her again as she raised her play to another level to win the next two service games for the set and the championship by the score of 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

Finicane becomes the first women’s tennis player from Pomona-Pitzer since 1994 to win a singles title. Gibson was the first women’s tennis player in Williams history to make an appearance in the singles final.

 

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