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Jessica Alexander won her seventh consecutive singles match.

Friday May 15, 2009Women's Tennis Falls in Tough Battle to No. 2 Georgia in NCAA Round of 16

College Station, TX

Jessica Alexander won her seventh consecutive singles match.

The University of Florida women’s tennis team dropped a heartbreaking 4-2 decision to No. 2 Georgia in the NCAA Championships Round of 16 on Friday at the Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University.

 

The 15th-seeded Gators appeared to have the momentum despite losing the all-important doubles point, but the Lady Bulldogs’ depth proved to be too much in the end, as Florida (16-10) ends its remarkable season having made its 26th appearance in the NCAA’s round of 16 in the 28-year history of the tournament.

 

“We knew we were playing a team that was picked to be a favorite for the national championship. We were probably underdogs in most of the spots. We all felt that we had a chance,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We did not play well in doubles and that was the first time in a while that we didn’t. A lot of credit goes to Georgia, because they hit the ball hard and deep, and kept us from doing some things that we like to do in doubles on offense.

 

“I felt that we got off to a little bit of a slow start in singles, because of losing the doubles point and Georgia certainly took advantage of that,” Thornqvist continued. “When we play them, we certainly have to be sharp at everything we do. If we’re not, then you are going to get down real quick. All the credit to our players, because they fought back and gave us a chance. There was a chance there after an hour and a half where I thought that we were pulling close to even with them. But, in the end, they proved to have too much force. They certainly have a very good team this year. I felt that we did what we could and fought as hard as we could, but they were certainly the better team today.”

 

Georgia (26-2) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after winning the doubles point and the singles match on court No. 6.

 

Florida freshman Jessica Alexander (Dallas, Texas) answered right back, as she provided a convincing 6-4, 6-1 win over 93rd-ranked Monika Dancevic at the No. 4 position and gave the Gators their first team point of the dual match. The first set was extremely tight, with just one break through the first eight game and Alexander the owner of that, as she held a 5-3 lead with the serve. Dancevic broke back, but the Gator rookie dug deep and took Dancevic’s serve and the first frame before racing out to a 3-0 lead to start the second and earned a late break in the sixth game to post her team-leading seventh consecutive singles victory. Alexander capped her debut collegiate singles season with a 19-6 record, all in dual match competition.

 

Junior Marrit Boonstra (The Netherlands) was in the midst of rallying on the showcase court, where the eighth-ranked Gator was battling ninth-ranked Chelsey Gullickson. The Georgia rookie took the first set, before Boonstra stormed back to take the second, breaking each of Gullickson’s first three serves. The pair exchanged breaks early in the third and Gullickson stole another in the sixth game and that proved to be the difference as she captured the 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 outcome that gave Georgia a 3-1 lead.

 

Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) also forced a third set in her match on court No. 3, where she squared off against No. 56 Nadja Gilchrist, who had taken the first set. Mather lost her serve to open the match and the two traded breaks midway through, but that was all Gilchrist needed to take the first frame. The second set featured six breaks, including in each of the last three games, as Mather earned the final one and forced a deciding third. Both held and broke in the first four games, before Mather held and broke for a 4-2 lead. She repeated the trick to earn the 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory and moved the Gators closer, but still down, 3-2

 

Florida had its chances in the remaining two singles matches, as junior Anastasia Revzina (Moscow, Russia) won the first set of her No. 2 singles contest and was serving with a 5-3 lead in the second, but couldn’t finish off Yvette Hyndman, who rallied to force a third set, which halted once Georgia had clinched the dual match victory.

 

That deciding match came on court No. 5, where UF freshman Barbara Pinterova (Slovakia) appeared to have the momentum of forcing a third set after dropping the first against Naoko Ueshima. Pinterova raced out and was serving with a 5-1 lead in the second, before Ueshima ripped off five straight games to even the set at 5-all and later headed to a tiebreaker which was all Ueshima’s, as the took the 6-3, 7-6 (2) affair and secured the final outcome.

 

Florida had won the doubles point in both of the previous meetings, but Georgia came out ready, quickly taking the win on court No. 3.

 

UF’s Marrit Boonstra and Joanna Mather were on-serve at the No. 1 spot through five games against sixth-ranked Chelsey Gullickson and Nadja Gilchrist, but the Georgia pair broke through by winning the first three points off Boonstra’s serve and eventually capitalizing on their third break point. The Dawgs then earned another quick break in the eighth game and that was all they needed en route to the 8-3 clinching doubles-point decision.

 

Florida was up a break, serving with a 5-4 lead on court No. 2 when play was halted.

 

The teams had split the prior two matches this year, with the Gators winning the regular-season bout, 4-3, and the Dawgs (26-2) taking the 4-2 decision in the SEC Tournament semifinals.

 

Four Gators will remain in College Station, where they will prepare for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, which gets underway on Wed., May 20. Boonstra and Revzina will compete in both the singles and doubles draws and will be paired with Mather and Alexander, respectively in the doubles event.

 

Live streaming video of the singles and doubles matches can be seen at www.AggieAthletics.com.

 

NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championships –Round of 16

No. 15 Florida vs. No. 2 Georgia

Mitchell Tennis Complex

College Station, Texas

 

Friday, May 15, 2009

 

2009 NCAA Round of 16 Team Results

(3-seed) Duke d. (14) Arkansas, 4-2

(6) Miami d. (11) UCLA, 4-2

(2) Georgia d. (15) Florida, 4-2

(17-32) S. Carolina d. (17-32) Washington, 4-0

(1) Northwestern vs. (16) Fresno St. – later start

(8) California vs. (9) Georgia Tech – later start

(4) Baylor vs. (13) Stanford – later start

(5) Notre Dame vs. (12) Clemson – later start

 

UF Individual Dual Match Results

 

Final Score: Georgia 4, Florida 2

 

Doubles

1. (6) Chelsey Gullickson/Nadja Gilchrist, UGA d. (18) Marrit Boonstra/Joanna Mather, UF, 8-3*

2. (50) Jessica Alexander/Anastasia Revzina, UF led Monika Dancevic/Yvette Hyndman, UGA 5-4 DNF

3. Cameron Ellis/Naoko Ueshima, UGA d. Brooke Allen/Lauren Wolken, UF 8-1

Singles

1. (9) Chelsey Gullickson, UGA, d. (8) Marrit Boonstra, UF, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3

2. (55) Yvette Hyndman, UGA led (40) Anastasia Revzina, UF, 4-6, 7-5, 5-2 DNF

3. Joanna Mather, UF d. (56) Nadja Gilchrist, UGA, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2

4. Jessica Alexander, UF d. (93) Monika Dancevic, UGA 6-4, 6-1

5. Naoko Ueshima, UGA d. Barbara Pinterova, UF, 6-3, 7-6 (2)*

6. Cameron Ellis, UGA d. Brooke Allen, UF 6-0, 6-0

 

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

 

*indicates clinching doubles point and dual match win

 

Records: Florida 16-10; Georgia 26-2

 

 

POSTMATCH QUOTES

 

Florida Head Coach Roland Thornqvist

“We knew we were playing a team that was picked to be a favorite for the national championship. We were probably underdogs in most of the spots. We all felt that we had a chance. We did not play well in doubles and that was the first time in a while that we didn’t. A lot of credit goes to Georgia, because they hit the ball hard and deep, and kept us from doing some things that we like to do in doubles on offense. I felt that we got off to a little bit of a slow start in singles, because of losing the doubles point and Georgia certainly took advantage of that. When we play them, we certainly have to be sharp at everything we do. If we’re not, then you are going to get down real quick. All the credit to our players, because they fought back and gave us a chance. There was a chance there after an hour and a half where I thought that we were pulling close to even with them. But, in the end, they proved to have too much force. They certainly have a very good team this year. I felt that we did what we could and fought as hard as we could, but they were certainly the better team today.”

 

Georgia Head Coach Jeff Wallace

“It was the third time this year that we’ve played Florida and it was the first time that we won the doubles point. The first time around, they captured a three singles and we lost a close 4-3 match. Since that match, this team has rededicated itself and did a great job of winning the SEC regular season, the SEC Tournament and earning a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. We had a chance to play them again in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. They were able to beat us in the doubles point, but we were able to get four of the singles. We were sort of playing the rubber match here and I was really proud of our team to come out and get that doubles point. It was a good effort. When Georgia and Florida play, it’s always a dog fight. They came out and played great in the singles. It was hard-fought tennis played until the end.”

 

Georgia Junior Naoko Ueshima

“Obviously, I’ve played her (Florida’s Barbara Pinterova) three times in a row and I beat her twice before. I knew what it took to beat her, but I didn’t play that well in the second set. Jeff (Coach Wallace) told me to be confident in myself and to believe in my shot. I started to get more consistent with how I played in the match. It came down to who wanted it the most, so I guess I wanted it more.”

 

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