CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – In a match played on multiple courts and through numerous weather delays, the Vanderbilt women’s tennis duo of Anna Ross and Holly Staff advanced to the NCAA Doubles Championships Elite Eight following a victory in straight sets Wednesday night, earning All-American honors in the process. The doubles team, ranked 37th-nationally, defeated the eighth-ranked, and seeded team of Tatsiana Sasnouskaya and Yuliia Starodubtseva from Old Dominion.
After jumping out to a 5-1 lead early in the opening set, their Monarchs opponents fought back to make it 5-4 before Ross closed things off on serve for the 6-4 final. The two teams then traded points early in the second set before moving indoors due to inclement weather in the area.
Once inside and warmed up again, the two teams fought to a 3-3 tie before the Commodores managed to pull ahead. Four straight games late in the second set solidified the win for the Vanderbilt duo as they become the first to represent the Black and Gold in the quarterfinals since 2018.
First Set Triumph
- The Commodores opened the match winning a controversial first game. After a brief conversation at the net, Ross and Staff went on to break the serve and take a 1-0 lead early.
- With a 40-30 lead in game two, Ross’ next serve was put on hold as the teams moved indoors due to inclement weather. Minutes later the teams were ushered back outside to continue the match where the Vandy pair closed out their paused game with a win before adding another two quick points to go up 4-0.
- The Monarchs pair got one back from the Commodores, holding their serve to make it 4-1 partway through the first set.
- The two sides proceeded to trade points on serve as the Commodores looked to close out the opening set with the 5-2 lead.
- Old Dominion pulled within one as the Monarchs recorded three-consecutive games to make it 5-4 in the first set.
- Back on serve, Ross helped the Dores to the 6-4 first set win with an ace to finish it off.
In Straight Sets
- The two teams traded the opening two games, with each pair breaking the other’s serve before Old Dominion held in game three to take their first lead of the match, with Ross and Staff trailing 2-1.
- Ross’ first time on serve in the second set was once again stalled due to weather and the two teams made their way back inside with the Dores up 40-15 in game four.
- After a brief warmup period, Ross fired a serve over the net which was returned out of bounds and the Commodores knotted it back up at 2-2.
- Back on serve after Old Dominion took a 3-2 lead, Ross and Staff went up 40-0 quickly before Staff’s final serve was returned into the net to make it 3-3 halfway through the second set.
- The Dores broke the ensuing serve and reclaimed the lead, making it 4-3, before clinching the next game at deuce to extend their lead to two.
- With a spot in the quarterfinals looming, Ross and Staff cemented their names in the Vanderbilt record books with a 6-3 victory in the second set to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals.
The pair become the first Commodore doubles team to advance to the quarterfinals since Fernanda Contreras and Astra Sharma in 2018. They will face the winners of Jaeda Daniel/Nell Miller (NC State) and Carmen Corley/Ivana Corley (Oklahoma) Thursday.