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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The No. 8 Gators women’s tennis team remained perfect (4-0) beating FIU on Sunday in the championship match of ITA Kick-Off Weekend, advancing to the round of 16 of the ITA Team Indoor Championships in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 12-15.

Coming off of a 4-0 sweep Friday over No. 67 BYU, Florida dominated No. 31 FIU with another 4-0 win Sunday.

UF’s women’s coach Roland Thornqvist prepared his players for deeper sets and tougher competition, but against FIU, the Gators made quick work in their matches.

In the matches that were finished, his team won in straight sets with the closest set being 6-2.

“We never let them into the game,” Thornqvist said.  “If we had not come out as focused, it could have been closer.”

Thornqvist was impressed with freshman Allie Will’s more aggressive play as of late.

“It’s easier in practice to be aggressive than during games,” Will said.  “I’ve been learning to play to my strengths.”

No. 13 Will’s singles match Friday was tied 3-3 before the weather prevented her from finishing it on Friday, but she clinch the Gators victory against FIU with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Chrissie Seredni.

The Gators’ win was their 81st-consecutive regular-season home victory.

The No. 11 Gators men’s tennis team (3-1) will also be advancing to the round of 16.

Florida defeated Georgia Tech in a shutout match Sunday to earn its spot in Charlottesville, Va., for the ITA Indoor Team Championships on Feb. 12-15.

Before the match, UF’s men’s coach Andy Jackson told his team Georgia Tech was underrated.

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“We know Georgia Tech is capable of beating us, so we’re excited that we beat them,” Jackson said. “I told our team that I really believe Georgia Tech will be in the top 20 by the end of the year.”

A pair of freshmen, Billy Federhofer and Bob Van Overbeek, got the Gators off to a strong start by winning the first doubles match from the No. 3 position.

“For them to play in a match the way they have been in practice was a huge boost for us,” Jackson said.

It was the pair’s first doubles victory of the season.

Senior Antoine Benneteau, who won his doubles and singles matches Sunday, has noticed the freshmen’s elevated play.

“We have a lot of fighting spirit,” Benneteau said. “Even the new guys on the team are showing that. They’ve shown they can play for a top-10 team.”

Benneteau provides Jackson with much needed reliability on a team with three contributing freshmen.

“Half our team has experience and the other half really doesn’t,” Jackson said. “The half with experience are showing the way for us right now.”

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