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Senior Marrit Boonstra and the Gators advance to the NCAA final.

Monday May 24, 2010W-Tennis Defeats North Carolina to Reach NCAA Final

Athens, GA

Senior Marrit Boonstra and the Gators advance to the NCAA final.

Senior Marrit Boonstra (The Netherlands) and freshmen Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) won their respective singles matches after the Gators won the doubles point and helped the University of Florida women’s tennis team defeat No. 2 North Carolina, 4-0, and advance to the NCAA Championship final held at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

 

The third-seeded Gators (29-2) will play eighth-seeded Stanford (25-1) in the national championship match on Tuesday, May 25 beginning at 2 p.m. The dual match will air live on ESPNU, with a tape-delayed showing that evening on ESPN2 beginning at 10:30 p.m.

 

GatorVision also is in Athens, Ga., and will provide pre and post-match coverage of the event that can be seen on www.GatorZone.com, the official website of the Florida Gators.

 

Florida will be making its 11th appearance in the NCAA final and its first trip since 2003, when the Gators defeated Stanford, 4-3, in Gainesville to win their fourth national championship. Florida also captured NCAA titles in 1992, 1996 and 1998.

 

·          VIDEO: Post-match interview

 

·          VIDEO: Highlights

 

“This is my sixth ‘final four’ in nine years at Florida at it never gets old,” said UF head coach Roland Thornqvist, who guided the Gators to the 2003 NCAA title. “Entering the round of 16, we talked about being prepared for the ultimate, so that no matter how everything finished that we could look back this summer and know that we did everything we could to prepare. I think we felt that way coming here, which gives us a bit of inner peace. I think it makes us more confident and be loose. We’re just glad to have this opportunity to play for a national championship tomorrow.”

 

Embree provided the clinching dual match victory, as the Gator rookie defeated UNC senior Sanaz Marand, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, in two hours and eight minutes. Embree dominated the first set and Marand the second, leaving the third to decide the match. Neither could hold for the first four games until Embree stopped the trend by holding serve in the fifth. The rest of the match featured great points and skilled shots from every corner of the court, remaining on-serve until the 12th game, where Embree capitalized on her first match-point, as her soft lob found its way over Marand and land in the back of the court. The win was Embree’s 16th consecutive and she provided the clinching point for the sixth time.

 

“We had a really tight match in the fall I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy today,” Embree said. “She picked up her game in the second set and I started making unforced errors. The third set could have gone either way. I had to fight for every point. I knew I had to hang in there. I’m so excited to be in the final. My teammates cheering for me really helped.”

 

Boonstra was the first to post a singles result, as she defeated Sophie Grabinski, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 25 minutes. The Gator senior emerged on the positive side of three straight breaks midway through the first set and held for a 5-2 lead. She got her third break of the frame in the final game to take the set and carry that momentum into the second, where she jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The rest of the set was on-serve until Boonstra was able to close out of the match on Grabinski’s serve, winning her 17th consecutive match and giving Florida a 2-0 lead.

 

Will gave the Gators a 3-0 lead in the team scoring, as she won her 26th straight singles match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against senior Katrina Tsang at court number two in 90 minutes. The Gator rookie found herself down 2-0 to start, but broke right back and held for 2-all. She then captured another break and rode that until getting another in the ninth game to break for the first set. The second set began in a similar fashion to the first, as Will found herself down 2-0. She held and was able to break as part of a three-game run to get the set back on-serve. She was able to get an all-important break in the eighth game and served out for the victory.

 

“The match was a lot closer than the score,” Will shared. “I was lucky to get the break at 4-3. I couldn’t be more excited to be in the final. We’re all so excited. I’ve never felt so great going into a locker room. We’re really looking forward to tomorrow.”

 

“We showed some real resilience. There were several courts where we could have rolled over because of our play, but showed character and grit and were able to turn a couple of those matches around,” Thornqvist shared. “Once again, Lauren and Allie, two freshmen, keep proving that they’re not traditional freshmen. They are mature in their play and how they compete. They certainly have shown that in this tournament, that they aren’t overwhelmed.

 

“We knew North Carolina was going to be really, really tough and they were. I’m very proud of how we played and conquered the challenge today,” Thornqvist continued.

 

Florida, which won its 22nd consecutive dual match, took the doubles point in an impressive manner. The Gators have won the initial team point 29 times in the 30 dual matches doubles has been played.

 

Against North Carolina (30-5), Florida’s number three pair of freshman Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) and senior Anastasia Revzina (Moscow, Russia) needed just 31 minutes to take down Jelena Durisic and Jocelyn Ffriend, 8-1, and put pressure on the Tar Heels other two doubles teams that were forced to win to claim the doubles point.

 

Hitimana and Revzina remained a perfect 8-0 in their pairing, as they raced out to a 7-0 lead. UNC was able to hold and prevent the bagel, but the Gator rookie closed out the match on her serve.

 

Florida also was in control at the other two doubles courts, where Embree and sophomore Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) jumped out to a 4-1 lead against Katrina Tsang and Shinann Featherston, en route to an 8-4 victory in 61 minutes and gave the Gators a 1-0 lead.

 

“We played excellent, excellent doubles,” Thornqvist said. “The fact that we got off the court quickly on three doubles was huge for us.”

 

The Cardinal lead the all-time series 14-11 against the Gators, including a commanding 8-2 record in NCAA meetings. The last time the two clubs played was in the 2006 NCAA Semifinals, where Stanford took the 4-0 win on its home courts. The Gators won the match prior to that, downing the Cardinal 4-3 in the 2003 NCAA Final in Gainesville, as UF won its fourth national title. Florida and Stanford have squared off seven times in the NCAA Final, with the Cardinal winning five of those matches.

 

 

NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships Semifinals

Dan Magill Tennis Complex

Athens, Ga.

Monday, May 24, 2010

 

Complete Team Results

(3) Florida d. (2) North Carolina, 4-0

(8) Stanford d. (5) Notre Dame, 4-1

 

UF’s Individual Match Breakdown

 

Final Score: Florida 4, North Carolina 0

 

Doubles

1-#5 Marrit Boonstra/Allie Will, UF led #13 Sanaz Marand/Sophie Grabinski, UNC 6-3 DNF

2-#29 Lauren Embree/Joanna Mather, UF d. #31 Katrina Tsang/Shinann Featherston, UNC 8-4*

3-Carolina Hitimana/Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Jelena Durisic/Jocelyn Ffriend, UNC 8-1

 

Singles

1-#9 Lauren Embree, UF d. #21 Sanaz Marand, UNC, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5*

2-#8 Allie Will, UF d. #54 Katrina Tsang, UNC 6-3, 6-3

3-#65 Marrit Boonstra, UF d. Sophie Grabinski, UNC, 6-2, 6-2

4-#102 Anastasia Revzina, UF vs. Gina Suarez-Malaguti, UNC, 4-6, 6-4, 3-3 DNF

5-Joanna Mather, UF led Shinann Featherston, UNC, 6-2, 3-6, 4-3 DNF

6-Zoe De Bruycker, UNC led Claire Bartlett, UF 7-5, 2-2 DNF

 

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

Records: Florida 29-2; North Carolina 30-5

ITA Rankings: Florida 3; North Carolina 2

NCAA Seed: Florida 3; North Carolina 2

 

-UF-

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