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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Coach Roland Thornqvist wanted to see how his No. 7 Gators would respond to the test of a talented USF, and they aced it.

Florida (6-0) topped the No. 43 Bulls, the highest-ranked team it has faced in the dual-match season.

“We played very well once again,” Thornqvist said. “We’ve done what we were supposed to be doing leading up to the National Indoors.”

Freshman Lauren Embree returned to the lineup and helped secure the doubles point on court No. 2 with senior Anastasia Revzina in an 8-3 victory.

Embree gave credit to her teammate.

“Nas (Revzina) set it up really well,” Embree said.  “We have great chemistry out there.”

Freshman Caroline Hitimana and sophomore Joanna Mather on Court 3 had already clinched the doubles point when the No. 26 doubles team of freshman Allie Will and senior Marrit Boonstra upset USF’s No. 8 pair of Melissa Koning and Irene Rehberger 8-5 on Court 1.

It was the second upset of the dual-match season for Boonstra and Will.  They defeated the No. 18 pair of MaCall Jones and Megan Price in Florida’s match against BYU on Jan. 29.

Monday’s match served as a good preview for the level of the competition that will be featured at the ITA Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wis.

“I’m glad our last doubles match before Madison was against No. 8. It’s definitely great experience before playing so many good teams,” Boonstra said.

Will, No. 13 in singles and last week’s SEC Freshman of the Week, defeated No. 52 Ecaterina Vasenina on Court 2 in straight sets 6-2, 6-0.

Embree, who sat out Sunday, said her shin has been bothering her, but after Monday’s match she said she felt “100 percent.”

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No. 15 Embree defeated USF’s No. 77 Irene Rehberger in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 1 spot.

Earlier in the day, Thornqvist said he expected to see his Nos. 4-6 players tested by USF’s depth.

After the match, he said he felt Caroline Hitimana on Court 5 was “not tested.” She won her match in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 finishing before the rest of her teammates.

Even with two freshmen ranked in the top 15, Thornqvist has said this is Boonstra and Revzina’s team.

No. 92 Revzina won her match on Court 4 in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.

Thornqvist thought Revzina played excellent in the first set, lost her focus in the second set that became as close as 5-4, but did not panic and managed to close it out strong.

On Court 6, sophomore Claire Bartlett was in the only match to go beyond two sets.  Since the victory was already clinched for Florida after Bartlett and USF’s Natalia Guevara split their first two sets, they played a tiebreaker instead of a full third set. Bartlett won the tiebreaker 11-9.

Sunday’s match against Troy and Monday’s match against USF was the Gators’ first time playing on back-to-back days.

At the ITA Team Indoor Championships, beginning Friday, they will play at least three matches in three days, or four in four days if they advance to the championship round on Monday.

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