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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The weather wasn’t perfect but the play certainly was on Saturday as Florida secured a commanding win over Georgia State at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. Although originally scheduled for 10 a.m., the game was pushed back to noon due to concerns about the brisk weather in the morning.

UF (3-2) looked to get its winning record back for the first time since January 25 against the Panthers (2-6).

After losing in their doubles match last week against North Florida, coach Roland Thornqvist moved the team of Tsveta Dimitrova and Ida Jarlskog to Court 2. This proved to be a smart move as the two Europeans secured the first win in doubles for No. 41 Florida, defeating Damira Muminovic and Denisa Georghe 6-2.

Junior Victoria Emma and sophomore Sydney Berlin were the other victors for Florida won its match against Aleksandra Stromova and Mara Pop by the same score. With the other two matches won, the new centercourt doubles team of Marleen and McCartney Kessler did not finish their bout against Eva Chivu and Andreea Stanescue.

The strong play continued in singles with the Gators winning all sets up for grabs. Dimitrova was the first to win her singles match, shutting out Denisa Gheorghe in the second set to win 6-2, 6-0.

No. 49 McCartney Kessler won next, taking straight sets on Court 1 against Eva Chivu by the same score of 6-2, 6-2. The next point to come in was from sophomore Sydney Berlin, who defeated Mara Pop 6-3, 6-0, securing the match for her team and winning her first clinching point of the season.

For the second week in a row, Thornqvist and the opposing team’s coach agreed to finish out the matches. This allowed No. 113 ranked Victoria Emma, Jarlskog and Marlee Zein to complete their matches and the seven- point sweep. The nationally ranked Emma won 6-2, 6-3, while the Swede defeated Aleksandra Stromova 6-1, 6-2. Zein, the sophomore from Texas, closed out the day with a 7-5, 6-1 win.

This was UF’s last match against a non-conference school this season. Finishing with a winning record but with all wins coming against unranked opponents and both losses coming against ITA top 10 teams. The Gators start SEC play next week beginning against Alabama on the road. Thornqvist knows conference play will be very different play than what they have experienced so far this season.

“We just need to get ready for the grind that is the SEC, it's a different animal,” he said after the match. “We are all looking forward to the challenge. We have trained so hard so it really comes at a good time.”

Follow Myles on Twitter @myles_herbert and contact him at mherbert@alligator.org.

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