Junior Catrina Thompson (above) and her twin sister Christian defeated a trio of top-10 teams to advance to the title match.

Thompson Twins Keep Rolling, Become Only Doubles Team To Have Reached Semis In Both Grand Slams This Fall

Nov. 5, 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, registered another victory over a nationally-ranked team on Friday in the Varsity Tennis Center en route to moving into the semifinals of the second leg of the collegiate grand slam, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The Thompsons, the only doubles team to have reached the semifinals of both grand slams this fall, will next play at 10 a.m. on Saturday in a match that will feature a free live internet audio broadcast, available at www.RadioTennis.com.

The Thompsons defeated the 28th-ranked team of senior Megan Bradley and sophomore Audrey Banada from former conference rival Miami by a score of 8-5 in the quarters. The Irish went up 4-2 early, but the Hurricanes fought back and the score was tied at 5-5 before the Notre Dame sisters claimed the final three games for the victory.

The Notre Dame duo, which was the runner-up in the first grand slam event of the 2004-05 season, will next take on the 13th-ranked pair of Briton Alice Barnes and Erin Burdette from Stanford. The semifinals and finals in both singles and doubles will be covered live by www.RadioTennis.com, which provides free internet audio broadcasts of various tennis events, mostly on the professional tour.

The Thompsons are now 6-0 against nationally-ranked opponents this fall, with victories against foes ranked #1, #3, #6, #11, #24, and #28. Overall, the sisters are 8-1, with the lone 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. The Nos. 3 and 4 seeds also have been defeated, leaving the Thompsons as the lone seeded team remaining. 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 a strong contender to move up to #1 in the nation when the next set of national doubles rankings is released on Jan. 11.

Prior to Friday, no Irish player had ever reached multiple grand-slam semifinals in doubles. The Thompsons join current assistant coach Michelle Dasso (’01), who is serving 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 Thompsons, who came to Notre Dame in 2003 as the top-ranked girls’ 18-and-under doubles team in the United States, improved to 18-7 collegiately in open tournaments and are now 11-9 against ranked teams. Over their last 16 matches, they are 12-4 with six victories against top-15 foes and two more against other top-30 teams. They are now 16-7 as collegians in indoor action and 30-18 overall.

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

[2] #7 Catrina Thompson/Christian Thompson (Notre Dame) def. #28 Audrey Banada/Megan Bradley (Miami) 8-5

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