|Krista Hardebeck gave No. 16 Stanford a 4-3 win over No. 7|
Florida. File photo by Tri Nguyen/TriNguyenPhotography.com
For the third time, Stanford's Hardebeck won the clincher against the rival Gators.
No. 109 Hardebeck outlasted No. 72 Josie Kuhlman 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 on Court 4 today, lifting the 16th-ranked Cardinal (5-2) to a 4-3 victory over the seventh-ranked Gators (5-2) at Stanford.
Hardebeck, from Santa Ana in the Los Angeles area, also clinched Stanford's 4-3 win over Florida in the 2013 NCAA semifinals and the Cardinal's 7-0 thrashing of the Gators during the 2014 regular season.
Stanford and Florida have combined to win four of the last six NCAA team titles (2010-13). UCLA and Vanderbilt have earned the last two NCAA crowns, in that order.
Carol Zhao, last year's NCAA singles runner-up, made her season debut for Stanford less than 24 hours after losing in the doubles final of the $25,000 Morgan Run Women's Open in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe.
Zhao, a junior from Canada, held off 12th-ranked Brooke Austin 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 on Court 1. Austin, a sophomore from Indianapolis, reached the semifinals of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger last July.
ITF Women's Circuit in Rancho Santa Fe -- Top-seeded Zhang Shuai of China topped unseeded Vania King of Long Beach 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 to win the Morgan Run Women's Open.
Zhang, who needed 2 hours, 36 minutes to subdue King in a battle of 27-year-olds, reached the Australian Open quarterfinals as a qualifier last month. She had been 0-14 in Grand Slam tournaments before stunning second-seeded Simona Halep in the opening round in Melbourne.
King, a two-time Grand Slam champion in women's doubles and former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis, continued her comeback from a herniated disc in her neck. She did not have surgery.