Doubles pair Kennedy Shaffer and Elena Christofi of the UGA women’s tennis team took care of business on Friday and advance on down to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships. The team beat Northwestern University duo No. 15 Maddie Lipp and Alex Chatt 6-4, 6-3 in the Round of 16 in order to make their way to the Elite Eight.
“It was really good doubles,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. “They’re playing some phenomenal doubles and Northwestern has got a good team so we had to fight. We made some great first serves at key times and hit some big returns at the right times too. We were playing aggressive and smart.”
Though this was the first year the girls played together as a doubles team, they are the only Georgia women’s representatives left in the tournament. As a result of Shaffer and Christofi’s success in this tournament, they have been awarded All-America status in doubles.
“All-American…I never thought I would be able to say that in doubles,” Shaffer said. “That’s kind of cool and I think my mom would be proud, dad too. I’m just really happy!”
This is the first year both Shaffer and Christofi have played in the NCAA Women’s Doubles Championship. Last year, Shaffer reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Singles Championship in Tulsa. However, she did not play in the doubles tournament that year. Meanwhile, this is the first year freshman and Greece native Christofi has ever participated in the NCAA Championship tournament.
The girls spent most of the season at the No. 2 doubles spot for Georgia. Shaffer and Christofi had an overall doubles record of 15-5 and a dual record of 10-4. Though the duo’s success in the tournament surprised Shaffer, she credits her partner for all of their success on the court.
“I am very, very happy to get through,” Shaffer said. “Of all the draws we were in I didn’t think doubles was going to be our strong suit. I don’t really consider myself a good doubles player, but I have a very, very, very good partner who keeps me very mentally intact and who was really, really supportive. I am very grateful that I get to play doubles with her and she could help me out.”
According to Wallace, the team has grown since fall of 2016. He expects to see the same results in the quarterfinals on May 27 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
“They played really well in the fall together at the regional tournament,” Wallace said. “They played really well in the dual match season too, but I think right now they are playing their best tennis and it’s exciting to see it.”
The Bulldogs twosome are scheduled to play Texas A&M’s Rutuja Bhosale and Rachel Pierson at 3:30 p.m. ET this afternoon.
For the Doubles brackets, CLICK HERE.
Here are some pictures from both the men’s and women’s competition at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Click on the image to enlarge.