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Second-ranked Florida began its final home weekend of the regular season with a 7-0 sweep against Ole Miss at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex on an unusually cold Friday evening in Gainesville.
The win was the Gator’s ninth consecutive overall victory, as well as their 118th straight win at home, their 123rd regular-season win at home and their sixth victory in a row against the Rebels (10-10, 4-6 SEC).
Florida (16-2, 9-1 SEC) won the doubles point for the 11th time this year and then used singles victories from Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.), Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium), Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium), Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.), Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) to capture the sweep.
“I thought we were fantastic in doubles and solid in singles,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “It was a really good day for us.”
Each of the first five singles matches were decided in straight sets, with only Janowicz dropping her opening frame on court five, where she rallied to win the second set against Marija Milutinovic and forced a 10-point super-tiebreak. The Rebel held leads to 6-3 and 8-5 in the breaker, and was receiving with a match point at 10-9, but Janowicz battled back and won the final three points to earn her seventh consecutive singles victory and her team-leading 28th of the season.
“The neat thing about Olivia is that she couldn’t hit a ball in the ocean the first set and I felt for her,” Thornqvist said. “She had to go to plan ‘b’ in the second set and just try to rotate the ball more and maybe not it as flat since she hit so many errors in the first. She generally doesn’t like to do that but today she was forced to and she was able to win. When you’re not playing well and you have to go to plan ‘b’ or plan ‘c’ and still be able to execute that’s pretty impressive and I felt really good about that and I was happy for her.”
Cercone was the first Gator to post a singles victory, as she downed Mai El Kamash, 6-4, 6-1, on court three in 71 minutes. The Gator junior won her 20th singles match of the year, improving to 11-1 in dual match action. Cercone began the match with a break and held for a quick 2-0 lead. The rest of the set was basically on-serve, with the two trading breaks in the seventh and eighth games. Cercone raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second, dropped in serve in the fourth game, but wouldn’t lose again en route to the victory.
Oyen defeated Julia Jones, four minutes later, 6-2, 6-2, on court two. Oyen earned breaks in the fifth and seventh games without losing her serve to win the first set. The two traded breaks to open the second and after Jones held, Oyen ripped off the final five games to capture the win and give Florida a 3-0 lead.
Hitimana and Embree, the Gator’s two seniors, were playing match-point on their respective courts at the same time, with Hitimana able to close out her match short before Embree and provide the clinching dual match victory.
For Hitimana, the 6-2, 6-3 win against Vivian Vlaar marked the 70th singles victory of her career, as she won her 32nd consecutive singles bout in dual match action.
Embree’s 6-4, 6-0 decision over Caroline Rodhe-Moe was her 33rd straight dual match singles victory, as the talented Gator improved to 80-5 in career dual match singles play that includes a 38-0 all-time record in SEC contests. She improved to 20-1 this season, as well as 111-14 in her singles career.
Nine minutes later Morgan gave Florida a 6-0 lead after she polished off Erin Stephens, 6-3, 6-2. The Gator rookie marched out to a 4-0 lead, before Stephens started to rally, who won three straight games before Morgan held for the 5-3 lead and broke in a long game to win the opening set. Morgan won the first two games of the second set before the two exchanged breaks. The next three games were holds before Morgan earned one last break to take the win on court four and improve to 12-1 in singles matches, 6-1 in SEC play.
The Gators captured the doubles point behind individual 8-2 wins from Embree and Oyen at the No. 1 court and from Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Morgan on court three.
Embree, who improved to 110-21 all-time on the doubles court, and Oyen defeated, while the two freshmen downed Mai El Kamash and Julia Jones.
Embree and Oyen raced out to a 5-0 lead en route to their win against Marija Milutinovic and Caroline Rohde-Moe, as Embree improved to 110-21 all-time on the doubles court.
Collins and Morgan battled Mai El Kamash and Julia Jones and earned breaks in the fourth and sixth games, as well as the 10th and final one, to secure the doubles point in 50 minutes.
Florida’s Cercone and Janowicz led the match on court two, 7-6, when play was abandoned.
The Gators next play host to Mississippi State on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. It is the first half of a Florida tennis double-header, as the men’s team entertains Mississippi State 1:30 p.m.
Sunday’s women’s match is the Gator’s regular-season home finale and the team will honor seniors Lauren Embree and Caroline Hitimana in a pre-match ceremony scheduled to begin at 9:45 a.m.
No. 37 Ole Miss at No. 2 Florida
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Friday, April 5, 2013
Final Score: Florida def. Ole Miss, 7-0
Doubles (order of finish: 1, 2*)
1. Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (20), UF d. Marija Milutinovic/Caroline Rohde-Moe (53), UM, 8-2
2. Alexandra Cercone/Olivia Janowicz, UF led Erin Stephens/Iris Verboven, UM, 7-6 DNF
3. Danielle Collins/Brianna Morgan, UF d. Mai El Kamash/Julia Jones, UM, 8-2*
Singles (order of finish: 3, 2, 6*, 1, 4, 5)
1. Lauren Embree (1), UF d. Caroline Rodhe-Moe (45), UM, 6-4, 6-0
2. Sofie Oyen (12), UF d. Julia Jones, UM, 6-2, 6-2
3. Alexandra Cercone (53), UF d. Mai El Kamash (82), UM, 6-4, 6-1
4. Brianna Morgan (107), UF d. Erin Stephens, UM, 6-3, 6-2
5. Olivia Janowicz (118), UF d. Marija Milutinovic, UM, 3-6, 6-2, 1-0 (11-9)
6. Caroline Hitimana (125), UF d. Vivian Vlaar, UM, 6-2, 6-3*
*indicates clinching doubles point/dual match win
RECORDS: Florida 16-2, 9-1 SEC; Ole Miss 10-10, 4-6 SEC
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