Belinda Woolcock and Anna Danilina have been playing against each other in practice all season. However, on Saturday, it had a purpose.
The two Gators faced each other in the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles tournament in a match that sent Woolcock to the semifinals.
With a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over her teammate, Woolcock became the first Gator since 2015 to reach the semifinals. However, it did not come easy.
The first set remained on serve until Danilina earned a break to win the final two games. The second set remained just as close, tied at 3-all halfway through. Woolcock then found her stride and won the last three games to split the match. The senior never looked back as she quickly jumped to 3-1 in the final set and remained in the lead before taking the match outright.
"It's always hard, you know we train together all the time and know each other's game really well,” Woolcock said in a release. “I played the game that I set out to play, you know I stuck to my game plan and my game, and that is the same thing I am going to do tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the Gators doubles season came to a close on Saturday as Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan fell 7-6, 6-2 to California’s Maya Jansen and Maegan Manasse.
The Gators’ pair had won seven straight in NCAA tournament play before getting upset by Cal’s No. 34-ranked team.
A Gator hasn’t reached the finals of the singles tournament since 2002. Woolcock will try to change that as she’ll face Estela Perez-Somarriba of Miami at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Contact Spencer Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @spencemthompson.
Belinda Woolcock returns a ball during Florida's win against South Florida on Jan. 27, 2017, at the Ring Tennis Complex.