Former Stanford tennis stars face off at the Bank of the West Classic

Nicole Gibbs (Credit: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Nicole Gibbs (Credit: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Day One of the main draw at the 2016 Bank of the West Classic was punctuated by a three-set duel between former Stanford Cardinal Number Ones, with NICOLE GIBBS defeating CAROL ZHAO 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 under the lights at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Gibbs seized the upper hand early, winning the first set 6-2. Zhao responded with two early breaks in the second set, eventually stretching her lead to 5-2. Gibbs then broke Zhao, before Zhao closed out the second set, 6-4.

Zhao and Gibbs traded breaks to start the third before Gibbs shut the door with another break, holding serve to win the set 6-3. Gibbs advances to face No. 4 seed CoCo Vandeweghe at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Currently ranked Number 71 in the world, Gibbs has been competing on the WTA tour since 2013, months after electing to turn pro following her junior season at Stanford. An All-American in singles during each of her three seasons (2011-13) at Stanford, Gibbs was a two-time NCAA Singles champion (2012, 2013) and teamed with MALLORY BURDETTE to capture the 2012 NCAA Doubles crown. Gibbs, who helped guide Stanford to a national title in 2013, wrapped up her career with a 111-15 overall record and was 65-6 in duals. One of seven Cardinal players named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team in April, Gibbs was also a three-time all-conference pick and her 27 dual match wins in 2011 rank third in school history.

Zhao announced last month that she would forego her senior season to pursue a career in professional tennis. A three-time All-American and 2015 NCAA Singles runner-up, Zhao played a key role in Stanford’s 2016 NCAA championship run, despite missing the entire fall season and much of the spring as she had been training with the Canadian National Team and competing in pro tournaments. The Cardinal finished 14-1 with Zhao in the lineup and 6-4 without in 2016. Zhao concluded her career on the Farm having compiled a 76-16 overall record and 51-8 dual match mark. Zhao was a three-time all-conference pick and consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 in singles throughout her career, including a career-high No. 1 ranking in the 2016 preseason poll.

Read more about the Stanford Tennis and about the Bank of the West Tournament on the Stanford Athletics website.