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Thursday, May 23, 2024
<p>Victoria Emma.</p>

Victoria Emma.

The Gators women’s tennis team showed out on the singles court on the second day of the USTA Fall Ranked Spotlight. Florida’s four representatives — McCartney Kessler, Victoria Emma, Marlee Zein and Layne Sleeth — all picked up a win in the first round of singles competition. Sleeth’s performance was most notable, knocking off No. 8 Anna Rogers of NC State in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, to claim her third consecutive victory over a ranked opponent. The freshman out of Markham, Ontario, Canada, ran into injury trouble after advancing to the main draw, though, forcing her to withdraw from her match against No. 79 Shiori Fukuda and ending her day. Zein and Kessler also both withdrew from their second-round matches after picking up wins against Alana Wolfberg and Catherine Gulihur, respectively. Emma was the only Gator active in the afternoon slate but fell to NC State’s Alana Smith in straight sets to close out the Gators’ Saturday in Lake Nona, Florida. 

“I'm looking forward to seeing if we have the appetite to compete and respond to the adversity,” coach Roland Thornqvist said in a release. “It's easy to come up with excuses when it's the third day of a tough tournament and you're not at your best physically, and I'm eager to see how the team handles the challenge."

The Gators men’s tennis team meanwhile also saw similar success, collecting seven wins on Day 2 of the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens, Georgia. The day was highlighted by Duarte Vale’s straight-set upset victory over No. 15 Bar Botzer of Wake Forest in the semifinal round. With the win, Vale advances to his second-consecutive finals appearance where he’ll face No. 82 Juan Pablo Grassi of UCF in the championship on Sunday. Five different Gators collected at least one victory in Saturday’s performance. 

“We definitely got better today and had some great performances,” coach Bryan Shelton said in a release. “I’m looking forward to finishing out the weekend on a positive note tomorrow.”

Follow Victor Prieto on Twitter @victorprieto_11. Contact him at vprieto@alligator.org.

Victoria Emma.

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