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Senior Anastasia Revzina provided the clinching singles victory.

Saturday May 22, 2010Women's Tennis Marches Into NCAA Semifinals, defeats Miami 4-0

Athens, GA

Senior Anastasia Revzina provided the clinching singles victory.

The third-seeded University of Florida women’s tennis team battled for every point and came through with an intense and hard-fought 4-0 victory against 11th-seeded Miami (Fla.) on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

 

Florida advances to the NCAA Semifinals for the 20th time in the last 24 years and plays No. 2-seeded North Carolina (30-4) on Mon., May 24 at 1 p.m. The Tar Heels defeated No. 10 Duke, 4-3, in their quarterfinal bout to reach the semifinals for the first time in program history.

 

·          VIDEO: Coach Thornqvist Post-Match Interview

 

·          VIDEO: Post-Match Interviews with Lauren Embree, Joanna Mather & Anastasia Revzina

 

·          VIDEO: Match highlights

 

The Gators played extremely focused doubles and captured the doubles point after collecting victories on courts two and three, with the number one pair leading when play was halted.

 

“This was one of the toughest matches we’ve played all year. The 4-0 score clearly wasn’t how the match really was,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “It was very closely contested. Miami’s a tough team. We knew they were going to be loud and really fight no matter what the score was. I thought we opened by playing very well in doubles. I told them between doubles and singles that doubles was not going to be an indication of how singles was going to go.”

 

Thornqvist prepared his team well, as the first singles match needed one hour and 45 minutes to conclude. Surprisingly, it was court No. 1 that provided the first singles result, as UF’s ninth-ranked freshman Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) upset seventh-ranked senior Laura Vallverdu, 6-4, 6-2, and gave the Gator a 2-0 lead in the team scoring.

 

Vallverdu, last year’s NCAA Singles runner-up, began a long first game by holding serve and broke the Gator rookie for a 2-0 lead. That sparked a run of four consecutive breaks, with Embree holding for 3-all. She then broke Vallverdu in the seventh game and the remainder of the set was on-serve, as Embree closed out the opening frame. The second set started with a trio of breaks, before Embree stopped the trend by holding for a 3-1 lead. She captured another break in the seventh game and served out for her 15th consecutive singles win, with the victory marking the highest-ranked opponent the Gator rookie has defeated in her young career.

 

“Laura’s a great player, a senior, and she’s had a lot of good results,” Embree said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I had to play my best, hit every ball deep and keep playing hard until the last point.

 

“I’m so excited. I have so many different emotions right now,” Embree shared. “After I won my singles match, I just wanted to rush over to Joanna (Mather) and Caroline’s (Hitimana) courts because I knew they needed some help on those courts (that we not played next to the other four). We’re tough at every court and that’s makes us a strong team.”

 

Joanna Mather, a native of Duluth, Ga., located just 44 miles from Athens, was able to channel the energy from her teammates and fans, as she gave Florida a 3-0 lead when she defeated Gabriela Mejia, 6-4, 6-2 at the court five. The first set featured eight service breaks, including each of the last five games, as the Gator sophomore broke to take the opening frame. Mejia came right back with a break to start the second, but Mather evened the set with a break of her own. She then earned another in the fourth game for some breathing room and held serve the rest of the way before breaking Mejia in the eighth game to earn the victory six minutes shy of the two-hour mark.

 

“The match was pretty intense. I had a lot of fans cheering for me and that helped a lot,” Mather said. “I tried to stay calm. Dave (Balogh, Associate head coach) really helped me with that and staying focused.

 

“I’m just so excited! I’ve never had this feeling before, being in this situation with the girls after the whole year,” continued Mather. “We’ve been training so hard and all of our hard work is finally showing.”

 

The remaining four singles matches were extremely close when Mather closed out her match, as Florida still needed to win one more to capture the dual match.

 

Miami had won the first set on courts two and three and rallied to force a third set at the No. 4 spot, while Florida’s Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) won a tough first set at No. 6 against Claudia Wasilewski.

 

That’s when the Gators dug deep.

 

It was senior Anastasia Revzina (Moscow, Russia) who was able to provide the finishing touches on the dual match victory, as she defeated Danielle Mills, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes and helped Florida win its 21st consecutive dual match.

 

Revzina seemed to have her way with Mills in the first set, but the Hurricane youngster stormed back in the second and forced a deciding third, where she rode an early break for a 3-1 lead. Revzina settled and got the set back on-serve with a break in the sixth and then captured one final break in the 10th and final game to earn her 95th career singles victory, as well as her 70th in dual match action.

 

“I played really well in the first set and didn’t give her any chances to adjust to my game so it was pretty quick,” Revzina said. “After the first set, she took a bathroom break and I lost my focus. She stepped up her game, served better. In the third set, it was tougher. I am a senior and knew I had to keep playing.

 

“I’m really happy for the team,” Revzina continued. “I know Miami is a rival and we haven’t played them in a while. We played them my freshman year, 4-3. This time it came down to my court. I’m really excited.”

 

Midway through Revzina’s third set, UF’s Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) and UM’s Bianca Eichkorn were staging a thrilling battle. Eichkorn, who entered the match riding a 24-match win streak was able to break Will in the 12th game of the first set to take the early lead. Will, who sported a 25-match winning streak, found herself down 2-0 to start the second. She regrouped in a hurry by breaking right back. The two traded breaks again midway through the frame, before Will earned another in the ninth game and served out for the set to force a third. Will then jumped out to a 2-0 lead and Eichkorn held when play was abandoned.

 

Senior Marrit Boonstra (The Netherlands) seemed down and out against Anna Bartenstein, but the Gator senior never quit and found a way to win a second-set tiebreaker. Action had not yet begun in the final set when play was halted.

 

After winning her first set 6-4 against Claudia Wasilewski, Hitimana’s second set was also very tight and on-serve entering the ninth game, where Wasilewski earned a break to begin a four-game trend, as Hitimana broke for force a tiebreaker. The Gator freshman led the breaker 5-3, when play was abandoned.

 

“We went through some ups and downs in singles, but through it all, we found a way to answer anything Miami had,” Thornqvist said. “The fact that we were able to split sets at two and three singles really helped us win the match at four singles. It really took a lot of pressure off of our player and added a ton of pressure on their player.

 

“We’ve talked about those types of things since August, in that to play well here it goes well beyond forehands and backhands,” Thornqvist continued. “It’s about heart and toughness and fight and we showed all of that today. I’m really proud of them.”

 

 

NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships Quarterfinals

Dan Magill Tennis Complex

Athens, Ga.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

 

Complete Team Results

Florida d. Miami (Fla.), 4-0

North Carolina d. Duke, 4-3

Notre Dame d. Tennessee, 4-2

Stanford d. Baylor, 4-2

 

UF’s Individual Match Breakdown

 

Final Score: Florida 4, Miami (Fla.) 0

 

Doubles

1-#5 Marrit Boonstra/Allie Will, UF led #6 Gabriela Mejia/Laura Vallverdu, UM, 7-6 DNF

2-#29 Lauren Embree/Joanna Mather, UF d. #36 Anna Bartenstein/Bianca Eichkorn, UM, 8-3

3-Carolina Hitimana/Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Danielle Mills/Claudia Wasilewski, UM 8-3*

 

Singles

1-#9 Lauren Embree, UF d. #7 Laura Vallverdu, UM, 6-4, 6-2

2-#8 Allie Will, UF led #40 Bianca Eichkorn, UM, 5-7, 6-4, 2-1 DNF

3-#65 Marrit Boonstra, UF vs. #84 Anna Bartenstein, UM, 4-6, 7-6 (2) DNF

4-#102 Anastasia Revzina, UF vs. Danielle Mills, UM, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4*

5-Joanna Mather, UF d. #113 Gabriela Mejia, UM, 6-4, 6-2

6-#106 Caroline Hitimana, UF led Claudia Wasilewski, UM, 6-4, 6-6 (5-3), DNF

 

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

Records: Florida 28-2; Miami 20-6

ITA Rankings: Florida 3; Miami 11

NCAA Seed: Florida 3; Miami 11

 

-UF-

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