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Lolita Frangulyan won all three singles matches during the tournament.

Sunday April 20, 2008Women's Tennis Falls in 4-3 Thriller to Georgia in SEC Tournament Final

Auburn, AL

Lolita Frangulyan won all three singles matches during the tournament.

Top-seeded Florida lost to second-seeded Georgia, 4-3, in the championship match of the Southeastern Conference Women’s Tennis Tournament played Sunday afternoon at the Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center.

 

With the dual match tied at 3-all, the deciding match came down to the No. 4 singles court, where Georgia’s Naoko Ueshima outlasted Marrit Boonstra, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4, in three hours and 17 minutes to clinch the title for the Bulldogs (20-4).

 

“I thought this was an incredible match and I want to congratulate Georgia,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We gave it all we had and I thought we could make a good run at it with Marrit on the final court. We’re disappointed, obviously, because I thought we had been playing well entering the tournament. In a match like, this you just have to tip your hat to the other team.”

 

The Gators (20-2), who were making their 20th appearance in the 21-year history of the event, have won the title since 2006, with the two-year drought now the longest Florida has gone without hoisting the league’s postseason tournament trophy. The Gators have won 15 titles, while the Bulldogs collected their second consecutive and fifth overall.

 

Highlights from the 2008 SEC Tournament will air on SEC-TV, which airs on FSN South, FSN Southwest, SportSouth, FOX College Sports and SUN Sports. Viewers should check their local listing for air dates and times.

 

Florida now awaits word on its fate in the NCAA Championships. The field of 64 will be announced on Tuesday, April 29 with ESPNews revealing the selections beginning at 2 p.m. ET. During that show, the 16 schools chosen to play host to the NCAA First and Second Round sites will be announced, with opening-round action beginning on Friday, May 9.

 

Florida began the dual match with all the momentum, using its doubles prowess to take control early. With all three doubles matches close, the Gators used spurts on all three courts and began to pull away for what seemed to be a quick and easy doubles point. After Florida captured the 8-1 victory at the No. 3 position, the early suspense seemed to be merely which remaining Gator court would finish faster to record the decision and clinch the point.

 

The Bulldogs, however, refused to go quietly and began to rally. After cutting into huge deficits on both courts, Florida finally earned the victory it needed at the No. 1 spot where Megan Alexander and Marrit Boonstra claimed the 8-6 win.

 

Georgia was fueled by it valiant comeback effort on the doubles courts, turning that energy to the singles courts, where the Bulldogs won the first set on five of the six courts.

 

Georgia zipped through the No. 1 singles spot to earn its first point of the dual match and even the team scoring at 1-all.

 

Lolita Frangulyan won her third match of the tournament, providing Florida’s first singles win of the championship with her dominating 6-1, 6-2 victory over Adrienne Elsberry on court No. 6. The win was the 20th consecutive for the Gator senior, who improved to 15-0 in dual match play this season. On Sunday, Frangulyan broke Elsberry at love to begin the match, but lost her initial game before buckling down to win nine straight to take the first set and a 4-0 lead in the second. Elsberry broke up the run by taking Frangulyan’s serve in the fifth game and held to shorten the lead to 4-2. Frangulyan regrouped and held to take a 5-2 advantage and broke Elsberry in the final game when the Bulldog double-faulted on match point, as Florida regained the lead in the team scoring, 2-1.

 

Fellow senior Whitney Benik had extended her winning streak to 15 after Friday’s quarterfinal win, but ended the tournament having lost consecutive matches, which included Sunday’s 6-2, 6-4 setback to Monika Dancevic on court No. 3 that gave Georgia its second point of the dual match, evening the score at 2-all.

 

All eyes then turned to action on courts Nos. 2, 4 and 5, where Georgia had won the first set on each and held the lead in the second set on all.

 

The No. 2 court was the first of those to finish, as Kelley Hyndman took out Csilla Borsanyi, 6-4, 6-4, in one hour and 56 minutes. Each game featured long rallies, but Hyndman seemed to win the big points, first earning a break in the ninth game of the opening set and holding to take the early lead. Hyndman then began the second breaking Borsanyi and while the two traded breaks midway through the set, the Gator sophomore couldn’t find a way to get it back, as Hyndman held serve for the win and gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.

 

Just moments before that No. 2 match concluded, Anastasia Revzina rallied and forced a second-set tiebreaker against Cameron Ellis on court No. 5. Revzina lost her serve to go down a break and 5-4 in the second. She fought off one match-point in the 10th game and broke to even the set at 5-all, but again lost her serve and Ellis had the chance to serve for the match. Revzina, however, battled back and forced the tiebreaker, where she won the first two points, before the two traded mini-breaks and Ellis stood on the baseline with two serves, down 3-2. Revzina earned one mini-break and then held her next two serves to take a 6-3 lead. Ellis rallied and fought off three set-points and evened the breaker at 6-all, before Revzina dug deep once more to win the final two points to take the set 7-6 (8-6) and force a deciding third set, which she raced out and dominated the first five games, en route to the incredible comeback victory, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, that lasted two hours and 49 minutes and tied the team score at 3-all.

 

Shortly following Revzina winning the second-set tiebreaker, Marrit Boonstra found herself in a similar position on court No. 4 against Naoko Ueshima, Georgia’s hero from its thrilling 4-3 semifinal victory against Arkansas. After serving for the second set in the 10th game, Boonstra double-faulted on break point and Ueshima held at love to take a 6-5 lead. The Gator freshman came back with energy and also held her serve at love to force a second-set tiebreaker. With Boonstra serving with a 4-2 lead, she stretched and smashed an incredible running backhand, cross-court for a winner that gave her the momentum to win the breaker, 7-3, and force a third set.

 

Boonstra couldn’t maintain that energy to start the final set, where Ueshima broke to begin the second, capitalizing on her third break-point, before racing out to a 40-0 lead on her serve en route to the 2-0 lead. Boonstra again had trouble finishing her service games, and let four game-points slip away before finally hitting a winner on her fifth to hold, but still down 2-1 and a break.

 

Both competitors then held in comparatively decisive games, until Boonstra came out of a change-over with a renewed sense of energy and determination. After Ueshima won the first point on her serve in the sixth game, Boonstra hit three straight winners and Ueshima double-faulted on break-point, sending the Gator rookie to the baseline with the serve, which she dominated by tossing consecutive aces, followed by another serve that was unreturnable en route to holding and getting the set back on-serve, 4-3.

 

Ueshima followed with a dominating service game of her own, holding at love to even the set at 4-all. She then jumped on Boonstra’s serve, winning the first two points and putting the pressure on Boonstra, who won the next two points but not another as she double-faulted on break-point and allowed Ueshima to serve for the championship, which she did winning four straight points and clinching the match 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in three hours and 17 minutes.

 

On the doubles courts, Florida appeared to be cruising toward taking the initial dual match point quickly, as the No. 3 pair of Julia Cohen and Anastasia Revzina took 37 minutes to defeat Monika Dancevic and Adrienne Elsberry, 8-1. The Gator pair won their 18th consecutive match while remaining perfect on the season, moving into sole possession of fifth-place as the longest doubles win streak in program history. On Sunday, the UF duo won the first two games, before UG answered with a break in the third game. The Gators, however, broke right back winning six consecutive games to earn the victory.

 

Florida also appeared to be in solid shape on the other two courts, holding significant leads on both until Georgia rallied on both. The Gators’ Megan Alexander and Marrit Boonstra led 6-2, up a pair of breaks, when the Bulldog duo gained steam and won two games with the serve coming. UF broke right back, however, and took a 7-4 lead. But Georgia managed a break and held at love to inch closer. Boonstra answered by serving out at love, giving the Gators the doubles point with the 8-6 win in 65 minutes.

 

Earlier, the No. 2 team of Whitney Benik and Csilla Borsanyi appeared poised to clinch the doubles point, but couldn’t find a way to close out their match, letting a 7-1 lead slip to 7-5 when play was abandoned.  

 

SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament Championship

City of Auburn/Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center

Auburn, Ala.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

 

Final Score: Georgia 4, Florida 3

 

Doubles

1. Megan Alexander/Marrit Boonstra (6), UF d. Yvette Hyndman/Kelley Hyndman (42), UG 8-6*

2. Whitney Benik/Csilla Borsanyi, UF led Naoko Ueshima/Cameron Ellis, UG 7-5 DNF

3. Julia Cohen/Anastasia Revzina (50), UF d. Monika Dancevic/Adrienne Elsberry, UG 8-1

Singles

1. Yvette Hyndman (42), UG d. Julia Cohen (27), UF, 6-2, 6-1

2. Kelley Hyndman (76), UG d. Csilla Borsanyi (33), UF, 6-4, 6-4

3. Monika Dancevic (91), UG d. Whitney Benik, UF, 6-2, 6-4

4. Naoko Ueshima (109), UG d. Marrit Boonstra, UF, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4*

5. Anastasia Revzina (110), UF d. Cameron Ellis, UG, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3

6. Lolita Frangulyan, UF d. Adrienne Elsberry, UG 6-1, 6-2

 

Order of Finish: Doubles-3, 1*; Singles-1, 6, 3, 2, 5, 4*

 

Records: No. 5 Florida 20-2; No. 8 Georgia 20-4

 

*indicates clinching doubles point/dual match win

 

NOTES:

*Final singles match lasted three hours and 17 minutes

*Loss ends UF’s 17-match win streak

*Anastasia Revzina won her 12th consecutive singles matches and improved to 14-2 in dual matches this season

*UF has not lost the doubles point this season

*UF doubles team of Julia Cohen & Anastasia Revzina improved to 18-0 and moved into the sole possession of fifth-place all-time in program history

*Whitney Benik entered the SEC Tournament final with 199 combined singles and doubles wins, but did not record a decision in doubles and lost her singles match; she is on-pace to become the 15th Gator to win 200 combined matches.

 

END OF REPORT

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