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Monday, May 27, 2024

UF men’s and women’s tennis opened Southeastern Conference play with two sweeps of Arkansas on Friday.

In Fayetteville, Ark., the No. 7 Gators men’s team (9-2, 1-0) got its first road win beating Arkansas (8-5, 0-1) 7-0.

Back in Gainesville, the No. 6 Gators women’s tennis team (10-2, 1-0) defeated No. 15 Arkansas (10-3, 0-1) 7-0 for its third-straight win over top-15 competition.

Florida did not lose a set, but women’s coach Roland Thornqvist described the team’s singles play as “not great.”

“We will need to come out with better focus Sunday for LSU,” Thornqvist said.

A positive for the Gators was the return of sophomore Joanna Mather to singles play. Mather has been recovering from a foot injury that limited her ability to cover the territory demanded in singles play.

In her return, Mather won her match in straight sets (6-2, 6-3) and was the first to finish, giving the Gators a 2-0 lead.

“It felt great to be back out there,” Mather said.

Conference play continues for the Gators on Sunday when they host LSU.  SEC Freshman of the Week Lauren Embree is confident the team will not be looking ahead to Wednesday’s match against No. 2 North Carolina.

“We are going to come out with the same mindset for LSU as we would for any opponent,” Embree said.

LSU is also the next opponent for the Gators men’s tennis team.

When the Gators travel to LSU for Sunday’s match, they arrive with one road win under their belt.

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In Friday’s 7-0 sweep of Arkansas, SEC Freshman of the Week Bob Van Overbeek put in another strong performance.

In doubles, Van Overbeek and freshman Billy Federhofer won the first set from court No. 3, putting UF in position to secure the first point.

In singles, Van Overbeek was the first member of the team to finish in a 6-3, 6-2 win to give UF a 2-0 lead.

No. 121 Antoine Benneteau finished shortly after Van Overbeek winning 6-3, 6-1. Benneteau is now 9-1 in singles play.

The match was clinched by sophomore Nassim Slilam when he battled back from losing the first set 6-1 to win the second and third sets 6-3, 6-1.

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