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Sunday, May 19, 2024
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-1fb0d0f1-7fff-7b77-a783-86483280ad93"><span>Marlee Zein will compete in doubles with Layne Sleeth.</span></span></p>

Marlee Zein will compete in doubles with Layne Sleeth.

The Gators returned to Gainesville last weekend after a failed comeback against stout No. 22 UCF. But it’s a new week — and time for a new challenge. 

Hitting the road again, No. 21 Florida (1-1) will battle its second top-25 ranked opponent in a row. This time it’ll face an undefeated in-state rival: No. 8 Florida State. The Gators have a lopsided history against FSU, holding a 56-4 all-time record.

The Seminoles are rolling off a 5-2 win against Old Dominion last Saturday. Both the singles and doubles units look up to par with their top-10 ranking. 

In singles play, FSU won nine of its last 12 matches. More than half of the starting six are ranked.

No. 27 Giulia Pairone tops FSU’s list. She dominated her opponent from Old Dominion, No. 40 Holly Hutchinson, 6-1,6-2 during the Saturday match. Pairone also paired with Emmanuelle Salas in doubles play. They rank 50th nationally.

Gators pair McCartney Kessler and Marlee Zein continue to search for their first win of the season after their meeting against UCF’s Rebeka Stolmar and Marie Mattel went unfinished (5-5). No. 26 Zein and Kessler will have their chance at redemption after No. 7 couple Petra Hule’s and Victoria Allen’s 6-2 loss Saturday. Their inability to finish down the stretch ended up being their crutch, and their opponents were able to expose that.

Most likely to return to the Gators’ starting six is sophomore Layne Sleeth, who made their dual match debut against UCF. The Canadian sophomore shined in her introduction and defeated No. 72 Marie Mattel 6-2, 6-3 in a game that didn’t seem close from the start.

The first serve will be at 4:45 p.m. and can be streamed on ACC Network Extra. Live statistics are available here.

Contact Jesse Richardson at jrichardson@alligator.org or follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352

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