Maria Sanchez Takes Over As Nation's No. 1|
Feb. 15, 2011
USC senior Maria Sanchez has ridden a 15-match win streak all the way to the top of the ITA/Campbell National Rankings, as the Trojan now stands as the top-ranking player in women's collegiate tennis. Sanchez opened the spring ranked No. 3 overall, having established herself as a national champion in winning the prestigious ITA National Indoor Championships during the fall. Now officially No. 1 in the land, Sanchez holds the highest ranking of her career, and becomes the first USC women's player to rank No. 1 since Amanda Fink did so in 2006.
Boasting a dominating 20-1 overall singles record, Sanchez' only loss to date came in a three-setter to her own teammate, Danielle Lao, in the ITA Southwest Regional Championship match. Since that October match, Sanchez has rattled off 15 straight singles wins and has helped the Trojans improve to 6-1 overall and a current No. 15 ranking as a team. During her winning surge to the top, Sanchez has captured wins over four top-10 singles players and has pieced together six consecutive straight-set victories.
For her winning run through three dual matches last week, Sanchez picked up her fourth career honor as the Pac-10 Player of the Week. The top two singles slots in the latest rankings, in fact, are occupied by Pac-10 players, with No. 1 Sanchez just ahead of Stanford's No. 2 Hilary Barte. Sanchez enjoys another top-10 slot as well, as she has teamed up to great success in doubles with freshman Kaitlyn Christian, and the pair currently rank No. 9 in the nation after starting the year at No. 80.
Sanchez' previous best ranking was a No. 2 position during her junior season, when she went on to make a push to the NCAA Singles Quarterfinals and finished the year ranked No. 5. Now also a team captain, Sanchez had been ranked No. 3 since the preseason rankings for this 2010-11 season.