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Friday, April 12, 2024
<p>Junior Sydney Berlin partnered with freshman Amber McGinnis to secure a dominant 6-2 victory in the opening match on Thursday</p>

Junior Sydney Berlin partnered with freshman Amber McGinnis to secure a dominant 6-2 victory in the opening match on Thursday

The month of January was unkind to the Gators. The one-point loss against UCF, a 4-1 rollover from the in-state rivals Florida State, and then one more blow from the Knights yet again

After two long weeks of agony and defeat, the three-game losing skid finally came to a close Thursday afternoon. No. 21 Florida defeated the unranked South Florida Bulls 5-2, returning to Gainesville with an improved 2-3 record.

Unlike the last three matches, the Gators came up with the doubles point and a 1-0 lead. A dominant, 6-2 win  from junior Sydney Berlin and freshman Amber McGinnis jolted Florida, as the duo rushed over to their sideline hoping to inspire. Ten minutes later, senior Ida Jarlskog and her partner Sara Dahlstrom felt the energy and sealed a 6-4 victory with two straight points.

No. 26 pair McCartney Kessler and Marlee Zein were in an intense doubles bout with USF junior Amelie Boy and senior Evelyne Tiron, facing three deuces and even deadlocking at 2-2.

But when the score hit 5-5, Dahlstrom and Jarlskog cliched their game on the adjacent court.

Singles competitors for Florida came onto the floor with a new type of energy, asfive of six starters won their first sets by two points or more. Thereafter, it was nowhere but up and Florida powered through the rest.

Scoring back-to-back wins in a two-day span was junior Sydney Berlin. Her 6-1, 6-2 roll of sophomore Lucia Garrigues-Melendez was the match decider and lasted just over an hour.

Kessler and Zein weren’t able to collect a win in the doubles category, but they  obliterated their singles opponents in two sets. No. 33 Kessler passed by Amelie Boy 6-2,6-1 and Zein outlasted Grace Schumacher 6-2,6-2.

This was the first meeting between UF and USF since Jan. 2016, where the Gators also claimed victory. Out of the 55 last meetings between the programs, Florida has now come out on top 54 times. 

The Gators start conference play in eight days, stopping in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to battle the Crimson Tide. Head coach Roland Thornqvist and his team have been looking forward to the day. 

“SEC season is obviously something we have circled, it's the meat of our schedule,” Thornqvist said. “Overall we are just trying to elevate our play for that opening weekend."

No. 22 Florida will take on Alabama on Feb. 19, with the first serve time still determined. Live stats will be available on FloridaGators.com

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Follow Jesse Richardson on Twitter @JesseRich352 or contact jrichardson@alligator.org



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