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Saturday May 17, 2008UF W-Tennis Reaches NCAA Semifinals by Eliminating Defending Champ Georgia Tech, 4-2

Tulsa, OK

Upsets were the theme of Saturday’s play at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships Quarterfinals and Florida jumped into the excitement by defeating third-seeded and defending champion Georgia Tech, 4-2, at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.


The sixth-seeded Gators (24-2) advanced to the semifinals where they play UCLA on Monday, May 19 at 1 p.m. ET. The seventh-seeded Bruins were the lone higher seed to avoid an upset, as they swept past unseeded Arkansas, 4-0.


In the other quarterfinal matches, No. 5 Baylor defeated No. 4 Stanford, 4-1, denying the Cardinal a spot in the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 1985, while advancing themselves to the final four for the first time in program history. The Bears play No. 8 California, which upset No. 1 Northwestern, 4-2.


With No. 5 Baylor, No. 6 Florida, No. 7 UCLA and No. 8 California advancing to the NCAA semifinals, it will be the first time since the current tournament seeding began in 1999 that the semifinal round will not have any of the top four seeds playing to advance to the championship final.


Florida won the crucial doubles point in thrilling fashion, before Whitney Benik, Marrit Boonstra and Anastasia Revzina provided singles victories to secure the Gators’ spot in the semifinals for the 19th time in the last 22 years.


“First of all, I’ve got to make a quick comment about Georgia Tech and what a championship team they have and what a classy orga­nization. They compete with class and they fight really, really hard,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We knew coming into today that they certainly didn’t want to give up their crown. We had to play at a very high level to win and I was particularly proud to see how we played at the end of two and three doubles to get the doubles point. Probably the best playing we had all day was at the end of those two matches to win the point. That is something you like to see as a coach is the ability to step up your play in the clutch.”


On the doubles courts, Georgia Tech’s Sasha Krupina and Kristi Miller controlled the No. 1 position and earned an 8-4 decision over Megan Alexander and Marrit Boonstra, forcing Florida into must-win situations on the other two courts to collect the important doubles point.


UF’s No. 3 pair of Julia Cohen and Anastasia Revzina found themselves in an early hole against Kirsten Flower and Christy Striplin, receiving and down 2-0. The Gator pair regrouped and broke Striplin and Cohen held to get the match back on-serve, as the next three games held serve. UF again broke Striplin and Cohen held on a long service game that gave the Gators a 5-3 lead. Neither tandem would relinquish its serve, but the Yellow Jackets had a chance on Cohen’s serve in the 12th game, holding double break-point. But the Gator rookie dug deep and helped win four straight points to hold. Flower took her turn at the baseline and Florida managed to break her for the first time on their initial break opportunity to earn the 8-5 victory and improve to 21-0 this season.


That match point was being played at the exact same time as the one on court No. 2, where UF’s Whitney Benik and Csilla Borsanyi managed to break Noelle Hickey at love to take the 8-6 decision and clinch the doubles point. After trading breaks early, the match was on-serve until the Gators broke Hickey in the 10th game to take a 6-4 lead. That game, however, began a five-game trend and neither team was able to hold serve, as the Gators also managed to break Whitney McCray for the first time during the 12th game.


In singles, Benik found herself in a huge hole early against Christy Striplin, as the Gator senior was down 2-0 and on the receiving end of a 40-0 score. Something began to click for Benik at that point, as she ripped off 21 of the next 23 points en route to a decisive 6-2, 6-0 victory to post her 99th career singles win and, more importantly, spot Florida a 2-0 lead in the team scoring.


“She [Christy Striplin] hits with a lot of spin and it took me a while to get used to it,” Benik said. “Then after what was almost three games, I got my game going. I stepped back a little and spun it back a little. I just got my rhythm and took off from there.”


Georgia Tech (22-6) then got on the scoreboard when seventh-ranked Amanda McDowell defeated 33rd-ranked Csilla Borsanyi, 6-2, 6-0 at the No. 2 position, cutting UF’s lead to 2-1.


Freshman Marrit Boonstra was the next Gator to turn in a singles result, as she posted a hard-fought 6-3, 6-4 victory over 46th-ranked Kirsten Flower, the highest-ranked opponent the Gator rookie has defeated in her young career. There was just one break in the opening set and Boonstra was the recipient, taking the advantage in the sixth game and closing the frame with two very strong service games as she won eight of the nine points. Boonstra began the second with a break and held at love to take a 2-0 lead. After Flower held, the next two games were breaks and Boonstra remained up one break until the eighth game, where Flower managed her first break of the contest to even the set at 4-all. Boonstra, however, fought off one game point and capitalized on her first break-point in the next game to take a 5-4 lead and head to the baseline to serve for the match. Flower jumped out on Boonstra’s serve and held double-break point, but the Gator rookie won four straight points to earn the straight-set victory and place Florida one win from the dual match victory.


The Yellow Jackets tightened the match after 10th-ranked Kristi Miller earned a 6-2, 6-3 decision over freshman Julia Cohen, 6-2, 6-3 on court No. 1.


That’s when the attention turned to court No. 6, where Anastasia Revzina was closing in on her clinching 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Noelle Hickey. The Gator sophomore got off to a slow start, trailing 4-0, but found her rhythm and began to turn the match around, almost extending the first set as she held one break point, but couldn’t finish, as the match eventually headed to a third and deciding frame, where Revzina won the final six games en route to her 16th consecutive singles victory.


“I was actually looking at the next court, but I had no idea what was going on in the stadium because you can’t really see,” shared Revzina about knowing if she could clinch the dual match with a win. “The first set didn’t go that good. I was pretty tight. I really wanted to beat Georgia Tech and I wasn’t concentrating on my game. Then I got used to the game and I was just thinking about every point and what I needed to do to beat the girl, and I got it done.”


The dual match victory also marked Florida’s 799th in the 36-year history of the program.


NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships, Quarterfinals

Michael D. Case Tennis Center

Tulsa, Okla.


Saturday, May 17, 2008


Team Results, Round of 16

(8) California d. (1) Northwestern, 4-2

(5) Baylor d. (4) Stanford, 4-1

(6) Florida d. (3) Georgia Tech, 4-2

(7) UCLA d. Arkansas, 4-0


UF Individual Dual Match Results Only


1. Sasha Krupina/Kristi Miller, GT d. (8) Megan Alexander/Marrit Boonstra, UF 8-4

2. Whitney Benik/Csilla Borsanyi, UF d. Noelle Hickey/Whitney McCray, GT 8-6*

3. Julia Cohen/Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Kirsten Flower/Christy Striplin, GT 8-5


1. (10) Kristi Miller, GT d. (29) Julia Cohen, UF 6-2, 6-3

2. (7) Amanda McDowell, GT d. (33) Csilla Borsanyi, UF 6-2, 6-0

3. (116) Megan Alexander, UF led Whitney McCray, GT 6-4, 2-5 - DNF

4. Whitney Benik, UF d. (77) Christy Striplin, GT 6-2, 6-0

5. Marrit Boonstra, UF d. (46) Kirsten Flower, GT 6-3, 6-4

6. (96) Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Noelle Hickey, GT 4-6, 6-1, 6-1*


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


Records: Florida 24-2; Georgia Tech 22-6



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