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Monday, February 06, 2023

Gators open season with Singles Championship and Doubles Co-Championship

Dahlstrom takes home singles title; Briggs, Dudeney named co-champions

Alicia Dudeney during the Gators' match against the South Alabama Jaguars on Saturday, May 7, 2022 at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. UAA Communications photo by Jashari Blige
Alicia Dudeney during the Gators' match against the South Alabama Jaguars on Saturday, May 7, 2022 at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. UAA Communications photo by Jashari Blige

Florida women’s tennis team earned championship titles at the annual Freeman Memorial Women’s Tennis Championships in Las Vegas for the second year in a row.   

The Florida Gators women’s tennis team kicked off their Spring 2023 season at the 20th annual Freeman Memorial tournament that took place from Friday to Sunday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The No. 18 Gators competed against host UNLV and four top-20 teams: No. 8 Stanford, No. 10 Pepperdine, No.13 Oklahoma State and No.16 University of California, Los Angeles. 

Florida sophomores Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee were crowned champions as doubles partners in last Spring’s Freeman Memorial Championships, but they would pair up with different teammates this season. Dudeney teamed up with senior Carly Briggs, and Spee joined forces with freshman Rachel Gailis. 

The Gators earned five victories on the first day, with notable wins against ranked opponents. 

Dudeney — a United Kingdom native — defeated No. 46-ranked UCLA sophomore Kimmi Hance in a matchup that went down to the wire. Hance took the first set, 6-3. However, Dudeney stormed back to take the second set, 6-3, and edged Hance out in a tiebreaker, 7-6, in the final frame. 

Briggs defeated No.12-ranked Pepperdine junior Janice Tjen in a three-set matchup. Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist put emphasis on Briggs’ win when asked about the Gators’ play on day one. 

“Carly has shown steady progress in her play ever since she got here,” Thornqvist said. 

He was pleased with their performance Friday and anticipated continued success throughout the weekend. 

Unfortunately, things took a turn. It wasn’t poor play that halted the Gators momentum, rather inclement weather. Day two was cut short due to rain, but there was just enough time for the singles semifinals to play out. The Gators showed out with a win over a ranked opponent and three total wins Saturday. 

The doubles semifinal round was postponed to Sunday, but no championship round was played due to time constraints. The winners of the semifinal matchups were crowned co-champions instead. 

Briggs and Dudeney battled against Oklahoma State junior Kristina Novak and senior Alana Wolfberg. The Gators were crowned co-champions in their draw after they earned a dominant 6-1 victory. 

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Later that day, Gators Dudeney and junior Sara Dahlstrom competed in the singles finals of their draws. Dudeney battled, but lost her match in two sets, 6-0, 6-2, against Pepperdine sophomore Savannah Broadus, who gave up only two total games to the Gator. 

Dahlstrom won her draw and was crowned champion after her win over Oklahoma State senior Ayumi Miyamoto. Dahlstrom won the first set, 6-4, but dropped the second, 6-2. She repeated her first-set score to crown herself as champion. 

The Gators earned five ranked victories throughout the invitational and will look to continue their success against South Florida. They’ll play the Bulls at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Tampa. 

Contact Luke Adragna at Follow him on Twitter @Iukeadragna

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Luke Adragna

Luke Adragna is a second-year sports & media major and a writer for women’s tennis at the Alligator. In his free time, he obsesses over his kitten named Pete, updates his Letterboxd and spends way too much money on Lego.

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