The 27th-ranked Bulldog duo improved to 23-7 this season (63-20 in their career as a tandem) while the the 15th-ranked California pair dropped to 21-4. This marks the second time in the Georgia duo’s career that they have made it to the semifinals of the NCAAs. They made it that far in 2010 when the event was last held in Athens at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
“They came out hot and played as good as I’ve seen them play all year,” said Georgia coach Jeff Wallace. “Nadja’s ground strokes were fantastic; they both moved their feet well at the net and that quick start made it an uphill battle for Cal.”
After Gilchrist held serve to open the match, the Bulldogs picked up an early break on Juricova for a 2-0 advantage. The Bears failed to convert two break point opportunities on Gullickson’s serve in the next game and Georgia held serve. The Bears didn’t hold serve until the sixth game of the match when Juricova used a powerful service game to make it 5-1. The momentum didn’t last for the Bears. Gullickson served for the set, and and Gilchrist slammed a winner on the first set point. In the second set, the Bears came out sharper as Susanyi held serve and immediately notched a break for a 2-0 edge. However, the Bulldog duo responded by taking the next six games for the match. A key point came in the fifth game as the Bears seemed poised for a 3-2 lead after going up 40-love. The Gilchrist/Gullickson duo stormed back to win five straight points and take the game and then cruised to victory.
“I want to win it for Chelsey, we’ve made it to the semifinals before, and I know Chelsey wanted to do well in singles again, but all we have left is doubles,” said Gilchrist. “We were feeling it today; we were on fire and seemed like we made every ball. It was fun, and I’m excited that we won quickly.”
This was the second meeting between the Bulldog and Bear tandems. They squared off earlier this season during the quarterfinals of the ITA Indoor Team Championship in February with the Bears registering an 8-1 win.
In the semifinals Sunday, the Bulldogs will face the ninth-ranked UCLA team of Courtney Dolehide and Palmela Montez. They beat Baylor’s Ema Burgic and Nina Secerbegovic 6-1,3-6,6-3 Saturday. The time of the match has not been set , and it will not be before noon.
“We’ve got UCLA next, and they have a great team,” said Gullickson. “We’re not in the singles so we feel like we’ll be fresh and confident. We’re keeping it basic, making our returns and volleys and playing smart.”