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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Whitney Benik and Lolita Frangulyan couldn't stop smiling before, during or after the UF women's tennis team's win against LSU on Sunday.

They had every reason not to stop as the No. 4 Gators dismantled the No. 27 Tigers (10-8, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) 6-1 in the seniors' last regular-season home match.

The victory put UF (14-1, 8-0 SEC) just one win away from clinching at least a share of the SEC crown.

Benik and Frangulyan were paired together once again in doubles, where they had very little trouble in an 8-2 victory.

"It's always great playing with Whitney, winning All-American together and having such great memories," Frangulyan said.

Added Benik: "It could be our last match playing together. We just went out having fun."

UF downed LSU routinely on all three doubles courts to take the point. The Gators have yet to lose a doubles point all season.

The two continued their dominance in singles, as they were coincidentally the first two off the courts for UF. Frangulyan won her 14th consecutive singles match 6-1, 6-1, and Benik won her 11th straight 6-0, 6-2.

"I've been waiting for this day for so long, and when it actually came, I can't even describe how I feel," Frangulyan said. "I don't know whether I feel happy or sad. … I just can't believe that it's been four years. I gave it all I had."

Sophomores Anastasia Revzina and Csilla Borsanyi followed the seniors' lead with two 6-1, 6-0 wins. Revzina's victory clinched the match for UF.

Freshman Julia Cohen, No. 36 nationally, rebounded from her Friday night loss to the No. 1 player in the nation, 7-6 (1), 6-1, by defeating the No. 19 player and former No. 1 6-2, 7-6 (4).

It was the highest-ranked opponent Cohen has defeated in her young career.

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"I really liked the fact Julia had to bounce back after a tough loss and beat a really good player," UF coach Roland Thornqvist said.

UF defeated No. 13 Arkansas on Friday 5-2.

The Gators battled to win the doubles point by scores of 8-3, 8-6 and 9-7.

UF finished off the Razorbacks in singles by winning courts four, five and six in straight sets to clinch the match. Arkansas (13-6, 6-2 SEC) took the top two courts after the match had already been decided.

Benik and Frangulyan both won their matches on Friday in straight sets.

"I think I'm playing right now the best I've ever played all four years," Benik said. "I have nothing to lose. It's my last couple matches, and I'm just giving it all I have."

Thornqvist said the Razorbacks were "maybe the best team we've played all year."

The UF men's tennis team split its weekend road matches against two ranked teams.

The Gators (11-5, 6-2 SEC) knocked off No. 41 Arkansas 5-2 on Friday and then fell to No. 19 LSU 4-3 on Sunday.

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