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Lauren Embree will play in the NCAA Singles Semifinals on Sunday

Saturday May 28, 2011Lauren Embree Reaches Semifinals of NCAA Singles Championships

Stanford, CA

Lauren Embree will play in the NCAA Singles Semifinals on Sunday

Florida’s Lauren Embree Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championships with a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory against California’s 23rd-ranked Mari Andersson on Saturday at the Taube (pronounced TOE-bee) Family Tennis Center.

 

Embree’s run marks the 13th time a Gator has reached the semifinal round and the first since Jennifer Magley in 2005. Jessica Lehnhoff was the last Gator to play in the final when she did so in 2002.

 

The 17th-ranked Gator won her 28th consecutive singles match and remained undefeated this season.

 

"I got up 4-2, but then I backed up a little bit and played more defensively,” Embree said. “Then I missed that overhead to go 5-4 down, so I really wanted to get that point so I wouldn't be down two set points. At five all, I played a good point and at 6-5, I tried to win it with a volley and that is what happened."

 

"She attacked when I give her short balls, but my defense was good today. She played well and I just tried to get as many balls back as I could."

 

The second-set tiebreaker was on-serve through five points before Embree took a mini-break for a 4-2 lead. Andersson got it back later and went to the baseline with a pair of serves and a 5-4 lead, but Embree proved too tough and won three consecutive points to seal the straight-set victory.

 

“Lauren played pretty well today,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Mari Andersson was hitting the ball as hard as she possible could in the second set. We had to do a lot of defending but at the right moments, Lauren was able to step up and hit some big second-serve returns and come to the net and volley away a few when Mari gave her the opportunity. Her courage to move forward in the second set at times was the difference and that gave her the match.”

 

Embree will play Stanford’s Stacey Tan in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon. The other semifinal features top-seeded Jana Juricova of California versus Stanford’s 18th-ranked Nicole Gibbs. Both matches are scheduled to begin at Noon PT.

 

“Lauren is really tough,” Thornqvist said. “She’s very mentally solid and she’s had a good attitude every match here. When you get to this stage, the margin here is so small you have to be mentally sharp with your skills as well as your mind and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Lauren will have to do the same again on Sunday against Tan.”

 

The Gator’s second-seeded doubles team of Alex Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) ended its run in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships, falling 6-2, 7-5 to Clemson’s sixth-ranked pair of Josipa Bek and Keri Wong.

 

Cercone and Will capped their impressive first year together with a 14-1 record, with their 14-match run tied for the 10th-longest win streak in program history.

 

“Alex and Allie have superseded all of my expectations this year,” Thornqvist said. “We did not play particularly well today, however, and that is disappointing. They didn’t communicate as well as they should as in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships. I’m sure they’re disappointed and they should be. They did lose, however, to one of the best teams in the country. There’s no shame in losing to them, but I’m sure we’re a little disappointed that we didn’t play as well as we could today.”

 

 

NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles & Doubles Championships

Taube Family Tennis Center * Stanford, Calif.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

 

Singles, Complete Quarterfinal Results

No. 1 Jana Juricova (1), CALIFORNIA d. No. 25 Chelsey Gullickson, GEORGIA, 6-3, 6-0

No. 18 Nicole Gibbs, STANFORD d. No. 3 Hilary Barte (3), STANFORD, 6-4, 6-1

No. 17 Lauren Embree, FLORIDA d. No. 23 Mari Andersson, CALIFORNIA, 6-3, 7-6 (5)

No. 43 Stacey Tan, STANFORD d. No. 49 Nina Secerbegovic, BAYLOR, 5-7, 6-1, 6-4

 

Doubles, Quarterfinals (UF only)

No. 6 Josipa Bek-Keri Wong, CLEMSON d. No. 2 Alex Cercone/Allie Will, UF, 6-2, 7-5

 

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