TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State women’s tennis team got an added boost from its youngsters on Saturday at the Bedford Cup in Jacksonville, Fla. True freshman Gabby Castaneda and redshirt freshman Emily Fanning will meet in the Draw B finals while sophomore Daniela Schippers will look to win the Draw B consolation bracket on Sunday.
“We had another very solid day again here in Jacksonville,” Head coach Jennifer Hyde said. “What stands out most about today is really how tough this team is. At this point in the season, everybody playing college tennis has certain hurdles that they are trying to overcome and today was especially a big day for a number of our girls with that fact in mind.”
The Seminoles were sluggish in the early morning after a full day of competition on Friday, but were able to continue to fight and end the day on positive notes.
“To start the day a little bit slow losing a few really well-played matches and to finish the day with six really good, definitive wins from Gabby [Castaneda], Dani [Schippers] and Emily [Fanning] really sets the tone for what I think is ahead of us,” Hyde said. “It speaks a lot to the fire and the heart that we have right now and what this team puts on display every time they step on the court.”
Castaneda came into competition on Saturday undefeated in her first four collegiate singles matches. Dominate since becoming a Seminole, Castaneda came out slow in her first match of the day. Dropping the first set 0-6 against Marina Cunningham of North Florida, the true freshman was able to overcome her early struggles and showed great poise to pull off the comeback in impressive fashion 0-6, 6-1, 6-2. Carrying the momentum of her last two sets, Castaneda defeated Florida international’s Nerma Caluk in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. After winning the flight one championship at the Furman Fall Classic, the freshman sensation is now 6-0 to begin her collegiate career and will play in her second straight finals on Sunday.
Meeting Castaneda in the Draw B finals will be Fanning, her doubles partner. The Timaru, New Zealand native has been off to a fantastic start this season. In her first match of the day, her opponent Breana Stampfli of Florida Gulf Coast retired because of injury in the first set. Fanning was able to use her fresher legs in her second match that went a difficult three-sets to defeat UNF’s Taylor Hollander 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the finals.
After losing her singles match yesterday, Schippers was able to string together two victories on the second day at the Bedford Cup to reach the consolation bracket finals. In a back-and-forth first match, the sophomore hit shots when she needed them most against Chinatsu Kajiwara of Bethune-Cookman en route to a straight set victory 7-6, 7-6. In the semifinals bout, Schippers continued her clutch attacking by taking down FIU’s Nina Nagode in a three-set thriller 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Yukako Noi has played in multiple close matches this season and Saturday was no different. In a match that lasted over three hours, No. 79 ranked Noi fell to Miami’s Sinead Lohan in a grueling three-set contest 6-7, 7-6, 6-3. The junior fought endlessly winning the first set tiebreaker 11-9, but came up inches short.
“This is one very tough group of fighters that we have this year,” Hyde said. “I saw it today across the board. I am very proud of the effort that they have put forth.”
Castaneda will face Fanning and Schippers will go toe-to-toe with USF’s Olga Martinez in the finals at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
For more information on Florida State women’s tennis, follow the Seminoles on Twitter @FSU_WTennis and like their official Facebook page.
Draw A Round Two
Sinead Lohan (UM) def. No. 79 Yukako Noi (FSU) 6-7, 7-6, 6-3
No. 89 Belinda Woolcock (UF) def. No. 91 Kerrie Cartwright (FSU) 6-2, 6-2
Draw B Quarterfinals
Gabby Castaneda (FSU) def. Marina Cunningham (UNF) 0-6, 6-1, 6-2
Emily Fanning (FSU) def. Breana Stampfli (FGCU) retired, 3-1
Taylor Hollander (UNF) def. Lana Rush (FSU) 7-6, 6-2
Draw B Semifinals
Gabby Castaneda (FSU) def. Nerma Caluk (FIU) 6-2, 6-4
Emily Fanning (FSU) def. Taylor Hollander (UNF) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Consolation Draw B Quarterfinals
Daniela Schippers (FSU) def. Chinatsu Kajiwara (B-CU) 7-6, 7-6
Consolation Draw B Semifinals
Daniela Schippers (FSU) def. Nina Nagode (FIU) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
Sinead Lohan/Wendy Zhang (UM) def. Gabby Castaneda/Emily Fanning (FSU) 8-7
Nerma Caluk/Nina Nagode (FIU) def. Yukako Noi/Lana Rush (FSU) 8-5