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The Gators put their 110-match home-win streak on the line this weekend.

Thursday February 21, 2013No. 4 Gators Prepare for Huge Home Weekend Beginning Friday vs. Clemson

Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators put their 110-match home-win streak on the line this weekend.

After a couple of matches on the road, No. 4 Florida (4-1) returns home this weekend to battle two top-20 opponents. The Gators will play host to No. 18 Clemson (3-2) on Friday and take on No. 13 Stanford (3-1) on Sunday at the Ring Tennis Complex where admission to all regular-season matches is free.

 

“We’re playing better tennis. I think our players are becoming more confident,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said.

 

The Gators are coming off a road trip with split results that included a loss against then-No. 4 Duke and a win at No. 1 North Carolina, and Coach said the team is preparing for the upcoming matches by readjusting to playing outdoors.

 

VIDEO: Watch today’s pre-practice press conference with Coach Thornqvist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MzxdTOO8po

 

VIDEO: Watch today’s pre-practice press conference with Lauren Embree and Sofie Oyen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wNZnXdb25M

 

The match against Clemson begins at 3 p.m. and will be Florida’s third consecutive against a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Gators lead the all-time series against Clemson, 21-0, including a 9-0 record in Gainesville. The two teams have not played each other since May 20, 2011, when the Gators beat the Tigers 4-1 in the round of 16 in the NCAA Championships. Florida went on to capture the NCAA Team title four days later.

 

“It’s the classic trap match here because the whole world is talking about Sunday and Stanford and here comes Clemson, who is a top-10 team in my eyes,” Thornqvist said. “Tomorrow is going to be interesting because it’s a very talented Clemson team.”

 

After playing the Tigers, the Gators will then face Stanford Sunday at 11 a.m.  It will be the first time the two powerhouse programs meet in a regular-season match in Gainesville in 20 years and the fourth time the teams will square off in regular-season play. Two of the last three NCAA Championship final matches featured the Gators against the Cardinal, with Stanford winning 4-3 in 2010 and Florida earning the 4-3 decision in Pablo Alto for the 2011 national championship, which halted the Cardinal’s NCAA-record 184-match home-winning streak that spanned from 1999-2011.

 

“We’re very familiar with them. We’ve had great battles, obviously, in the past with them,” Thornqvist said. “It’s going to be a war, I’m sure, from first point to last.”

 

Stanford leads the all-time series against Florida, 17-12, while the Gators hold the 3-2 edge in matches held in Gainesville. Stanford beat the Gators 4-2 in last year’s regular-season game at Stanford.

 

The Gators, who are 3-0 at home this season, carry a 110-home match winning streak, which is the longest active run of its kind of any NCAA Division I women’s team in any sport. It also is the second-longest overall active home winning streak, trailing only the 156 straight home wins by Ohio State’s men’s tennis team.

 

“Our record at home is pretty stellar,” Thornqvist said. “We like to play on slower courts and heat and humidity, so I’m hoping that will be a little bit of an advantage for us. They have a hard-hitting team, and we’re going to try to get them deep in the hitting count for each point, and hopefully our games will have a cumulative effect on them.”

 

USTA’s new “College MatchDay” series will debut in Gainesville on Sunday. The series will highlight premier men’s and women’s college tennis team matches each season.

 

“This is what college tennis should be about – home matches, key rivalries,” Thornqvist said. “I’m hoping that the crowd here will be huge and make it worthwhile.”

 

The series debut features the Florida-Stanford match this weekend and the University of Virginia men hosting Duke University on March 22. Beginning in 2014, the series will feature a team match every week during the season.

 

USTA’s College MatchDay will also organize activities and local outreach surrounding the host team’s campus.  Ken Thomas will broadcast each College MatchDay on RadioTennis.com.

 

The USTA is giving out hats to the first 200 kids in attendance, and the UAA will provide free “BEAT STANFORD” t-shirts to the first 500 fans. Prior to the match, kids can participate in Kid’s Korner activities such as making posters, coloring, meeting Alberta and receiving Gator head tattoos from the Dazzlers. There will also be a post-match meet and greet with the Gator team.

 

 

For all of the latest information on Florida women’s tennis:

Official Website: http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/women/

Twitter: @GatorZoneTennis  and  @GatorZoneNews

 

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