UF women's tennis wins 98th straight at home

Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 12:08 a.m.

The top-ranked 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 entirely 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-a-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 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 recorded her team-leading 13th singles win of the season and the 85th of her career, securing the win in 54 minutes.

“I thought she played fantastic,” 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.”

Sophomore Sofie Oyen gave Florida a 3-0 lead in the team scoring 19 minutes later, as she topped Alessandra Bonte, 6-4, 6-1.

Allie Will provided the hard-fought clinching dual match win with a 6-1, 6-3 decision against Lereto Alonso Martinez.

Sophomore Alexandra Cercone 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.

Olivia Janowicz 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 downed Ecaterina Vasenina, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 and closed out the Gator team sweep.

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 Embree and Mather needed just 28 minutes to polish off Fracassi and Rey for the first win of the dual match. Oyen and Will, ranked 10th in the country, followed with a 43-minute victory against Vasenina and Martinez, 8-3.

Cercone and Caroline Hitimana 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.

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.

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