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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The 2009 Gator Invitational, held this past weekend at the Ring Tennis Complex, gave the UF men's tennis team an opportunity to experiment with a variety of lineups and gave the women's team an opportunity to showcase their excellence.

On the men's side, the top performer was UF junior Alex Lacroix, who took home a share of the singles title and also shared the doubles title with fellow Frenchman Antoine Benneteau. Lacroix was dominant on the weekend, dropping only five games in his three singles matches.

UF coach Andy Jackson used the tournament as an opportunity to test both freshman William Federhofer and junior Erik Corace against tougher competition than they would normally face, as injuries to stalwarts Carlos Cueto and Joey Burkhardt left a pair of openings in the lineup.

However, despite solid play, Corace and Federhofer were unable to cash in on their opportunities, as each went 1-2 on the weekend. Still, each showed potential, as both lost their Sunday match in a tiebreaker.

The only major issue on the weekend was conditioning. In singles play, the Gators won almost 70 percent of their first sets but only 44 percent of their second sets. This left many matches in the hands of a first to 10 tiebreaker, in which anything can happen.

On the women's side, freshman Allie Will once again stole the show, dropping only seven games in her three matches en route to her second consecutive tournament victory.

Not to be outdone, fellow freshman Lauren Embree won both of her matches, including a 6-3 6-2 win over No. 25 Kristi Boxx of Ole Miss.

Yet another bright spot for the Gators was Claire Bartlett, who went 3-0 on the weekend and thus earned herself a fifth-place finish.

All in all, the team went 14-4 in singles and 8-1 in doubles, even though senior leaders Marrit Boonstra and Anastasia Revzina only saw limited action.

Both teams will be back in action next weekend, as the women have the ITA All-American in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the men have both the ITA All-American in Tulsa, Okla., and the FSU Invitational on the schedule.

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