The Gators capped their regular-season home slate with a 4-0 victory against Mississippi State at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex on beautiful Sunday morning in Gainesville.
The Gators (17-2, 10-1 SEC) won the doubles point before junior Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.), junior Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and freshman Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) turned in singles victories to secure the dual match win.
“We were good in doubles, especially at positions one and two,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Singles was some good and some lost focus a little bit, but overall I was happy about the weekend. It’s getting close to the end of Spring and the fitness is really coming along. We’re moving really well, but I think we lost focus a little bit today.”
The win was Florida’s 10th consecutive overall victory, as well as its 119th straight win at home and its 124th regular-season win at home which includes a 12-0 home record this year.
Included among the astonishing home win streak is the 53-0 dual match home record compiled with the help of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium), Florida’s two seniors who were honored in a pre-match ceremony.
“It was special, for Caroline and I to come out and get a win in doubles and almost get a win in singles is great,” Embree said. “It was a good team win by everybody. It was bitter sweet that this is coming to an end. We’ve both had great careers at Florida and really thankful and blessed for the support that we’ve both had these four years. We’re not done yet so it’s not too sad, yet.”
Janowicz gave Florida a 2-0 lead after she downed Petra Ferancova, 6-1, 6-1, in 54 minutes. The Gator junior, who was playing a season-high No. 4 in the lineup for the third time this year, needed just two breaks - in the second and sixth games - to win the opening set. Ferancova held to begin the second and halt Janowicz’s run of three straight games, but that was the only game she would earn during the second, as Janowicz ripped off the last six to claim her team-leading 29th singles victory of the season.
Cercone downed Naomi Tran, 6-2, 6-0, on court three, as the Gator junior won her seventh straight singles match and improved to 21-7 overall, as well as 12-1 in dual match action. The two traded breaks early in the first set before Cercone captured breaks in the sixth and eighth games to take the first frame. She carried that momentum in the second set, where she continued her run and capped the victory winning the final 10 games.
“She’s just solid,” praised Thornqvist of Cercone. “She makes very, very few unforced errors. The interesting thing with our whole team that we constantly talk about is that when we makes mistakes we play solid points after and that’s a mark of a championship team, when we don’t continue to give away points.”
Collins provided the clinching dual match win when she clocked in a 6-1, 6-3 decision against Lien Van Geel on court six. The Gator rookie cruised during the opening set and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second. Van Geel finally got on the board with her serve in the fifth game, winning three straight before Collins held in the eighth game and earned one final break to take the victory.
Florida won the doubles point for the 12th time this year, as Cercone and Hitimana blanked Georgiana Patrasc and Roseline Dion, 8-0, before the No. 20-ranked tandem of Embree and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) topped No. 65 Alexandra Perper and Naomi Tran, 8-2, to clinch the initial team point of the dual match.
The pair of Cercone and Hitimana were teaming for the just the fourth time this year and the first in dual match play, but didn’t show any lack of chemistry, as the Gators needed just 36 minutes to claim the first individual win of the afternoon.
Two minutes later, the more veteran team of Embree and Oyen polished off their victory, as the Gators held serve throughout and earned early breaks in the third and fifth games for the big lead en route to the clinching doubles-point decision. Individually, Embree improved to 111-21 all-time on the doubles court, while the tandem is 10-2 this year overall and 20-3 all-time.
Florida plays its final two regular-season matches on the road next weekend, when the Gators travel to Lexington on Friday, April 12 and face Kentucky, before heading to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt on Sunday, April 14.
Mississippi State at No. 2 Florida
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Final Score: Florida def. Mississippi State, 4-0
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 1*)
1. Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (20), UF def. Alexandra Perper/Naomi Tran (65), MSU 8-2*
2. Alexandra Cercone/Caroline Hitimana, UF d. Georgiana Patrasc/Roseline Dion, MSU, 8-0
3. Petra Ferancova/Lien Van Geel, MSU led Danielle Collins/Olivia Janowicz, UF 6-4 DNF
Singles (order of finish: 4, 3, 6*)
1. Lauren Embree (1), UF vs. Georgiana Patrasc (125), MSU, 6-0, 4-6 DNF
2. Sofie Oyen (12), UF vs. Alexandra Perper, MSU, 4-6, 6-2 DNF
3. Alexandra Cercone (53), UF d. Naomi Tran, MSU, 6-2, 6-0
4. Olivia Janowicz (118), UF d. Petra Ferancova, MSU, 6-1, 6-1
6. Caroline Hitimana (125), UF vs. Roseline Dion, MSU, 6-4, 3-1 DNF
6. Danielle Collins (115), UF d. Lien Van Geel, MSU, 6-1, 6-3*
*indicates clinching doubles point/dual match win
RECORDS: Florida 17-2, 10-1 SEC; Mississippi State 7-12, 1-10 SEC
For all of the latest information on Florida women’s tennis:
Official Website: http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/women/
Twitter: @GatorZoneTennis and @GatorZoneNews