Tuesday February 7, 2012Women's Tennis Wins 98th Consecutive Home Match, Sweeps South Florida, 7-0
Joanna Mather won both her singles and doubles matches in under an hour.
The top-ranked University of Florida women’s tennis team defeated South Florida, 7-0, on Tuesday evening and won its 98th consecutive home match at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.
The Gators, who recorded their 25th straight team victory dating back to last season, won their 23rd straight in the series against South Florida, improving to 50-1 all-time against their fellow Sunshine State program.
The final score wasn’t entire indicative of how competitive several of the singles matches were.
“Honestly, I thought we overdid things yesterday,” UF coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We had an hour and half practice yesterday and did some weights, too. We weren’t as sharp with our bodies today as we should have been and that affected our play a little bit. So we’re going to back off tomorrow (Wednesday) and go light on Thursday and play Pepperdine (on Friday in California) hopefully a little fresher.”
Senior Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) was the first Gator off the singles court, as she powered past Danielle Mills, 6-1, 6-0 and gave Florida a 2-0 lead in the team scoring. Mather, who recorded her team-leading 13th singles win of the season and the 85th of her career, opened the match winning eight of the first nine points. Mills earned a break in the third game, which would eventually prevent the double-bagel, as Mather came right back with a break of her own, dropping just one point en route to the 4-1 lead and won the final 10 games to secure the win in 54 minutes.
“I thought she played fantastic,” UF coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Her opponent gave us a lot of problems last year when she played with Miami, so to lose just one game to her is pretty impressive. I thought she played okay at Baylor (UF’s last opponent) and she spent an extra 15 or 20 minutes on her forehand just trying to be out front a little more and it looked like it really helped.”
Sophomore Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) gave Florida a 3-0 lead in the team scoring 19 minutes later, as she topped Alessandra Bonte, 6-4, 6-1. The two traded breaks and were on-serve through eight games until Oyen took her second break for a 5-4 lead and served out to take the opening set. She then jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second, before Bonte held in the fifth game, but Oyen closed out the match by winning the final two games to earn her seventh consecutive singles victory.
Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) provided the hard-fought clinching dual match win with a 6-1, 6-3 decision against Lereto Alonso Martinez. The first two games of the match were extremely long, but the Gator junior prevailed in both and broke Alonso Martinez at love for a 3-0 lead. The Bull broke back, but so did Will, as she then held and broke took the fifth break of the set to take it, 6-1. The first six games of the second were breaks and Will was the first to hold serve, as she did so in the seventh game and broke Alonso Martinez, before serving out to extend her season-opening singles winning streak to nine.
Sophomore Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) won her fifth straight singles match, topping Fanny Fracassi, 7-6 (4), 6-0, and gave Florida a 5-0 lead, one hour and 46 minutes into singles action. Cercone and Fracassi traded breaks early and the first set was on-serve entering the ninth game, as the last four were breaks and headed to a tiebreak, where Cercone won the first two points en route to a 4-1 lead. Fracassi rallied and cut Cercone’s lead to 4-3, but the Gator sophomore won the next points for a 6-3 advantage and closed out the frame two points later. That tiebreak win seemed to energize Cercone, who reeled off all six games of the second set.
Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) rallied to win her 21st consecutive singles dual match, netting a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory against Lucie Rey and helped Florida to a 6-0 lead.
Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) downed Ecaterina Vasenina, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 and closed out the Gator team sweep. The first set featured six breaks with four in Embree’s favor as she claimed the first frame. The next set also contained six breaks, this time with Vasenina taking charge and forcing a third set. Three of the first four games of the deciding set were breaks, as Embree emerged with a 3-1 lead and held at love for 4-1. Vasenina held on to her serve in the next game, but Embree finished strong, losing just one point on her serve and breaking one last time to capture the win.
Like its done in each of its previous three dual matches this year, Florida took a 1-0 lead in the team scoring after capturing the doubles point for the 24th consecutive time dating back to last season.
The Gators dominated on courts one and two, where the 15th-ranked tandem of Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather needed just 28 minutes to polish off Fanny Fracassi and Lucie Rey for the first win of the dual match. Sofie Oyen and Allie Will, ranked 10th in the country, followed with a 43-minute victory against Ecaterina Vasenina and Lereto Alonso Martinez, 8-3.
Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) capped off the doubles sweep with an 8-4 decision against Danielle Mills and Paula Montoya, as the Gators headed into the locker room before the start of singles competition with the team lead.
For the team of Embree and Mather, the sweep marked their third 8-0 decision this season, as the pair improved to 33-7 during the pairing, including 7-2 this year.
“I thought they were really sharp,” Thornqvist said of Embree and Mather. “Clearly, they’re as good as any doubles team in the country. It’s going to take a great effort to beat them.”
Oyen and Will improved to 22-5 in their all-time matches, also moving to 4-0 in dual match competition this season. On Tuesday, the Gator pair lost just two points in their first three service games, racing to a 5-1 lead. South Florida fought back and earned a break in the seventh game, but UF broke right back and Will lost just one point on her serve to give the Gators a 7-2 lead. The Bulls held and Oyen served out at love for the victory.
Court three was the tightest of the three doubles matches, as the first six games were on-serve until the Gators broke through in the seventh and Cercone held for a 5-3 lead. Florida broke again and the last three games were held, as Cercone served out for the 53-minute win.
The Gators next travel to the West Coast, where they play Pepperdine on Friday at the Taube Tennis Center on the campus of Stanford University,
Florida then battles the second-ranked Cardinal on Sunday beginning at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT.
The last time the two powerhouse programs scheduled a regular-season matchup was 19 years ago, when Stanford traveled to Gainesville on March 24, 1993 and the second-ranked Gators upended the then-top-ranked Cardinal, 5-1. In fact, of the 28 prior meetings between the two schools the planned meeting on February 12 will be just the third time ever Florida and Stanford will play a regular-season, non-tournament match. The first contest was on March 31, 1989, also in Gainesville, where the top-ranked Cardinal prevailed 5-4 against the second-ranked Gators. The last two NCAA Championship matches featured the Gators against the Cardinal, with Stanford winning 4-3 in 2010 and Florida earning the 4-3 decision in Palo Alto for the 2011 national championship.
Women’s College Tennis
No. 1 Florida vs. No. 45 South Florida
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
FINAL SCORE: Florida 7, South Florida 0
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 1*, 3)
1. Sofie Oyen/Allie Will (10), UF d. Ecaterina Vasenina/Lereto Alonso Martinez, USF 8-3*
2. Lauren Embree/Joanna Mather (15), UF d. Fanny Fracassi/Lucie Rey, USF, 8-0
3. Alexandra Cercone/Caroline Hitimana, UF d. Danielle Mills/Paula Montoya, USF, 8-4
Singles (order of finish: 3, 5, 2, 4, 6, 1)
1. Lauren Embree (25), UF d. Ecaterina Vasenina, USF 6-3, 2-6, 6-2
2. Allie Will (3), UF d. Lereto Alonso Martinez, USF, 6-1, 6-3*
3. Joanna Mather (4), UF d. Danielle Mills, USF, 6-1, 6-0
4. Alexandra Cercone (41), UF d. Fanny Fracassi, USF, &-6 (4), 6-0
5. Sofie Oyen (34), UF d. Alessandra Bonte, USF, 6-4, 6-1
6. Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Lucie Rey, USF, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
RECORDS: Florida 4-0; South Florida 3-2
*indicates clinching doubles point/dual match victory