Christian Thompson (above) and her twin sister Catrina lost against a nationally-ranked foe for the first time in seven matches this fall.

Thompson Twins Drop 9-7 Decision In Semis Of National Indoors

Nov. 6, 2004

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Sophomore twins Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), the seventh-ranked doubles team in college tennis and the tournament’s No. 2 seed, dropped a tight 9-7 decision to the nation’s 13th-ranked pair in the semifinals of the second leg of the collegiate grand slam, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships on Saturday morning in the Varsity Tennis Center. The Thompsons, runners-up at last month’s ITA All-American Championships, were the lone doubles team to reach the semifinals of both grand slam events this fall.

Stanford’s team of senior Erin Burdette and junior Alice Barnes from the United Kingdom eliminated the Thompsons. The Cardinal duo started quickly, winning the first three games of the match. The Thompsons rallied, though, winning six of the next eight games to go ahead 6-5. The twins took a 7-6 lead, but Barnes and Burdette then were victorious in three final games to move into the title match. The Stanford team is comprised of two of the top 20 singles players in college tennis, as Barnes is ranked sixth and Burdette 17th.

The Thompsons, who came to Notre Dame in 2003 as the top-ranked girls’ 18-and-under doubles team in the United States, lost for the first time in seven matches against nationally-ranked opponents this fall, after posting victories against foes ranked #1, #3, #6, #11, #24, and #28. Overall, the sisters are 8-2, with the other loss coming against Florida freshmen Whitney Benik and Lolita Frangulyan of Florida in the title match of the ITA All-American Championships. That Gator pair, seeded No. 1 in this event, was upset in the opening round. Each of the other three semifinalists from the ITA All-American Championships has failed to advance to the semis in this event, making the twins from Las Vegas strong contenders to move up to #1 in the nation when the next set of national doubles rankings is released on Jan. 11.

Prior to this event, no Irish player had ever reached multiple grand-slam semifinals in doubles. The Thompsons joined current assistant coach Michelle Dasso (’01), who served as the twins’ on-court coach this weekend with the rest of the team at the Indiana Invitational, as the lone players in school history to advance to grand-slam semis on multiple occasions in either singles or doubles play. Dasso reached the final four three times in singles during her final season (including being the runner-up at the National Clay Court Championships), and she also advanced to the semis of the National Indoors with Becky Varnum (’02). That duo was the only previous Irish team to win a main-draw match in the event. The Thompsons became the first Notre Dame duo to reach a grand-slam final at the All-American Championships.

Based largely on their runner-up performance at the ITA All-American Championships, the Thompsons are the No. 2 seed in the elite 16-team draw. It marks the highest an Irish doubles team has ever been seeded in any collegiate grand slam event.

The ITA All-American Championships, the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, and the year-end NCAA Championships are college tennis’ three national championship events. The other leg of the collegiate grand slam, the T. Rowe Price National Clay Court Championships, was discontinued prior to the 2001-02 season. The National Indoor Championships feature the smallest fields of any, with just 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams earning invitations.

ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships

Doubles – Quarterfinals

#13 Alice Barnes/Erin Burdette (Stanford) def. [2] #7 Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson (Notre Dame) 9-7

Note: Seedings in brackets preceding ITA national rankings, which precede names.