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Alexandra Cercone provided the clinching singles win in last year's 4-3 thriller vs Duke in the NCAA Semifinals.

Thursday May 16, 2013Florida Takes on Duke in NCAA Round of 16 on Friday at 10 am ET

Urbana, IL

Alexandra Cercone provided the clinching singles win in last year's 4-3 thriller vs Duke in the NCAA Semifinals.

Top-seeded and two-time defending champion Florida plays Duke in the third round of the NCAA Championships at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT.


The Gators defeated Marist, 4-0, and No. 23 Georgia Tech, 4-0, to reach the round of 16, while the No. 15 Blue Devils downed Ole Miss, 4-1, and Texas Tech, 4-3, to advance.


Florida, which was won 17 consecutive matches entering Friday’s bout, is playing in the NCAA Sweet 16 for the 30th time in the 32-year history of the event and sports a 26-3 record in this round of the tournament.


The Gators lead the all-time series against Duke, 34-5, but the Blue Devils captured this year’s regular-season meeting, 4-0, at the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center in Durham, N.C. The loss halted the Gator’s overall win streak at 25, dating back to last year when the team lost 5-2 at Stanford on Feb. 12, 2012. That also was the last time Florida dropped the doubles point, which it did on Sunday, as Duke captured wins on courts three and two, with the clincher decided in a tiebreak.


“They are one of the two teams that beat us during the regular season,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “They’ve lost a couple players to injury so the team we play on Friday will be vastly different than the one we played in February. They have nothing to lose and I’m sure they’re going to give it everything they have. We have to make sure we’re ready and play our best tennis at the end. I think we’re playing well. Hopefully, the theater of the NCAA Tournament doesn’t impede that.”


The Gators hold a 6-0 record against the Blue Devils in NCAA action. In four of those meetings, Florida went on to win the NCAA title (1992, 1998, 2003 and 2012). The last meeting was a thrilling 4-3 decision in the 2012 semifinals held in Athens, Ga., where Florida went on to win its sixth national championship.


The two programs also met in the 2003 semifinals (4-1 UF win), the 1999 semifinals (5-2 UF win), the 1998 final (5-1 UF, which won its third title), as well as in 1992 (5-1 Semifinals en route to team’s first NCAA title) and in 1991 quarterfinals (5-1).


The winner will play the winner of match between No. 8 California (18-5) and No. 9 Alabama (21-5) in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT.


Senior Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) headlines the Gator roster that features five members of the last two NCAA title teams. Embree, the No. 1-ranked singles player in the country, enters Friday’s match sporting an overall 20-match win streak, as well as a 38-match win streak in dual match action.


Three other Gators also enter the match against Duke with a double-digit singles win streak, with junior Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) riding a 13-match run, junior Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) a 12-match streak and freshman Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) an 11-match march.




2 VIDEOS 2Ways2Watch:

Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist previews Friday's NCAA Round of 16 match against Duke

GatorVision Online:





Gators Brianna Morgan, Danielle Collins, Alexandra Cercone and Lauren Embree talk with Kate Harte about their NCAA experience in Illinois on the eve of their NCAA Round of 16 match vs. Duke

GatorVision Online:





Match Day Details

Who: Florida (24-2) vs. Duke (16-9)

What: NCAA Championships Round of 16

When: Friday at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT

Where: Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill.


Official NCAA Championships Website


Florida Media Notes


Duke Media Notes


LIVE Scoring & Video



Schedule of NCAA Round of 16 Matches

9 a.m. CT: #1 Florida (1 seed) vs. #15 Duke and #8 California (8) vs. #9 Alabama (9)

Noon CT: #5 Southern California (5) vs. #12 Stanford (12) and #4 Georgia (4) vs. #13 Clemson (13)

4 p.m. CT: #3 Texas A&M (3) vs. #14 Virginia (14) and #6 Miami (6) vs. #11 Northwestern (11)

7 p.m. CT.: #7 UCLA (7) vs. #10 Michigan (10) and #2 North Carolina (2) vs. #16 Nebraska (15)




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