No. 4 Women's Tennis Tops Tennessee, 4-0
The University of Florida women’s tennis team capped a successful weekend with Sunday’s 4-0 victory against Tennessee at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
The fourth-ranked Gators (11-2, 4-1 SEC), who have won their last 73 matches at the Ring Tennis Complex versus Southeastern Conference opponents, also extended their overall home win streak to 115, the longest active home winning streak by any NCAA Division I women’s team in any sport.
Tennessee (5-6, 3-2 SEC) won the first doubles match of the match, but Florida earned victories on courts two and three to collect the initial point of the dual match. The Gators then received straight-set singles wins from Caroline Hitimana, Olivia Janowicz and Lauren Embree to improve their home record against SEC teams to 181-1 all-time.
“Today’s match was okay,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “It’s human nature, when after the emotional win against Georgia on Friday, to be a little flat today. We tried to talk about that. At the start of doubles I thought we were pretty flat. Once we got going we were okay. In singles we did a good job, too. It wasn’t anything really to write home about, quite frankly, but after the intensity of the Georgia match, it’s hard to saddle up a little.”
Florida Caroline Hitimana (Belgium) was the first off the singles court with her 6-1, 6-2 victory against Sarah Toti on court six, where the Gator senior collected her 30th consecutive dual match singles victory and improved to 6-0 in team action this year, while giving Florida a 2-0 lead in the team scoring. Hitimana, who was the fourth to finish her first set, jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the match before Toti finally held and won her only game of the day, as Hitimana won the final eight games of the match.
Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) followed four minutes later with a 6-2, 6-2 win against Mimi Fotopoulos on court five, where she raced out to a 3-0 lead. The next three games were holds, before the two competitors traded breaks, before the Gator junior earned her third break of the frame to claim the first set. The first break of the second set was in Janowicz’s favor in the fourth game and she rode that to a 5-1 lead and later earned one final break for the victory. The singles win was the 80th of the career for Janowicz, who is 24-6 this season.
Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) provided the clinching match victory with a 6-3, 6-1 decision against Brynn Boren on court one in one hour and 38 minutes. The two traded breaks early in the first set and Embree collected her second of the set in the sixth game and then held for the 5-2 lead. Boren held server in a long eighth game before Embree headed to the baseline to serve for the opening frame, where she fought off two break points and capitalized on her initial set point. She carried that momentum into the second, where she held serve throughout, winning the first four games en route to the victory which capped her 29th consecutive dual match singles win. The victory also was Embree’s 214 combined singles and doubles win, as she moved into sole possession of 10th all-time in Gator history.
Florida led in the remaining three singles matches, with Sofie Oyen, Alexandra Cercone and Brianna Morgan each having won their respective first sets and were at least on-serve in the second when play was abandoned
Tennessee’s fourth-ranked pair of Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely earned an 8-2 win against Alexandra Cercone and Sofie Oyen and put pressure on Florida’s other two doubles teams to win both matches to claim the doubles point. The Gators did just that, with Caroline Hitimana and Olivia Janowicz rallying for the 8-4 victory against Mimi Fotopoulos and Sarah Toti, before Lauren Embree and Brianna Morgan clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 decision over Joanna Henderson and Caitlyn Williams.
Hitimana and Janowicz were trailing 3-0, down two breaks, before beginning their comeback with a break in the fourth game. After Janowicz held, the Gators won 12 of the next 15 points and took a 5-3 lead. The Lady Vols regrouped and broke right back, but so did Florida and Hitimana held for the 7-4 advantage. The Gators then capitalized on their second match-point to earn the victory.
On court two, 10 of 13 games were breaks, with the Morgan holding in the fifth and 13th games the difference in the 8-game pro-set. The Gator rookie held at love in that fifth game, as Florida won eight straight points for the 5-2 lead. Tennessee was able to break, Henderson and then the Vols broke again and were serving down 5-4. The Gators were able to bounce back and stop the run with a break, but were unable to hold as Henderson again went to the baseline trying to get the match back on-serve. The Gators, however, captured the next game on their second break-point try and Morgan served out at love for the win.
Florida continues its four-match homestand on Friday, when the team plays host to No. 8 Alabama. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the first 250 fans receive Florida Tennis Croakies. Additionally, two contestants will alternate serving tennis balls at strategically placed empty pizza boxes and the winner receives a free pizza.
No. 44 Tennessee at No. 4 Florida
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Final: Florida d. Tennessee, 4-0
Doubles (order of finish: 1, 3, 2*)
1. Brynn Boren/Kata Szekely (4), UT d. Alexandra Cercone/Sofie Oyen, UF, 8-2
2. Lauren Embree/Brianna Morgan, UF d. Joanna Henderson/Caitlyn Williams, UT, 8-5*
3. Caroline Hitimana/Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Mimi Fotopoulos/Sarah Toti, UT, 8-4
Singles (order of finish: 6, 5, 1*)
1. Lauren Embree (1), UF vs. Brynn Boren (20), UT, 6-3, 6-1*
2. Sofie Oyen (14), UF vs. Kata Szekely (40), UT 7-6 (5), 4-4 DNF
3. Alexandra Cercone (55), UF vs. Caitlyn Williams, UT 6-3, 5-5 DNF
4. Brianna Morgan (96), UF vs. Joanna Henderson, UT 6-4, 5-3, DNF
5. Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Mimi Fotopoulos, UT, 6-2, 6-2
6. Caroline Hitimana, UF d. Sarah Toti, UT, 6-1, 6-2
*indicates clinching doubles point/dual match win
Records: Florida 11-2, 4-1 SEC; Tennessee 5-6, 3-2 SEC