Senior Anna Danilina, the No. 9 collegiate tennis player in the world, had lost her last three singles matches. In Saturday’s meet against Mississippi State at the A.J Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville, she was determined to bring her losing streak to a close.
Danilina’s dominant performance, in which she won her match 6-0, 6-1, contributed to the Florida women’s tennis team’s 4-0 rout of the Bulldogs. The match is UF’s third sweep of the year, and it came after the team’s last three matches all went down to the wire in 4-3 finishes.
The Gators (7-4, 2-0 SEC) won their second consecutive doubles point to open a match, a major improvement after losing their last four doubles points before facing Ole Miss (9-4, 0-2 SEC) to start their road trip. The duo of Danilina and freshman Victoria Emma won its match 6-2 to start doubles play, but the Bulldogs answered when the team of Sara Lizariturry and Anastasia Rentouli defeated the Gators’ No. 3 team in senior Peggy Porter and freshman Katie Kubicz 6-3.
The clinching doubles match for Florida was closely contested, but senior Josie Kuhlman and freshman McCartney Kessler escaped with a 7-6 victory.
"We won the doubles point managing emotions and play-calling,” coach Roland Thornqvist said in a release.
The Gators used their momentum from the doubles point to quickly close the match out. After Danilina’s quick victory, Emma swiftly followed with a win over the Bulldogs’ Magda Adaloglou, winning 6-3, 6-3. Up 3-0, Kessler ended the match and brought UF to its fourth straight victory, taking her match 6-4, 6-3.
The win ends Florida’s nine-game road trip, during which the team finished 5-4.
Thornqvist, who celebrated his 48th birthday on Saturday, said he was happy his team endured through a series of tough matchups over the last two weeks, taking all four meets on its road trip.
"I told the team that I don't know who scheduled this, but that person needs to be taken to the woodshed,” Thornqvist said. “I'm really proud because we came out of this road swing a much better team than we did going into it.”
The Gators will return to Gainesville to face off against the LSU Tigers on March 9.