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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Gators women’s tennis falls short in top-15 matchup against Pepperdine

The No. 15 Gators fell to No. 13 Pepperdine 5-2 in Florida’s last non-conference matchup of the duel season

Freshman Qavia Lopez slams a hit in the Gators women's tennis 6-1 win against Baylor.
Freshman Qavia Lopez slams a hit in the Gators women's tennis 6-1 win against Baylor.

The No. 15 Gators women’s tennis team (4-5) fell short in their fifth consecutive match 5-2, this time against the No. 13 Pepperdine Waves (6-2). However, the Gators’ lone points came from freshmen Malwina Rowinska and Qavia Lopez in singles action.

Rowinska defeated Pepperdine freshman Jasmine Conway 6-4, 6-3 on Court 6, claiming her first singles victory this season.

Meanwhile, on Court 5, Lopez prevailed in the first set 6-2, but the Waves’ No. 96 senior Nikki Redelijk took the second set 5-7. In a competitive tiebreaker, Lopez got the win and grabbed the Gators second point.

The Gators started the season undefeated, scoring wins over four top 50 opponents in San Diego, Florida International, Baylor and Florida State.

However, since their hot start, the Gators have faced a winless road slate, which featured matches against four top-15 teams: No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Stanford, No. 10 Georgia and No. 11 Auburn.

Now back in their home state, the Gators could not find their stride, falling to another top-15 squad in a neutral-site setting. This match also served as the final non-conference matchup of the duel season with SEC play set to start this upcoming week.

Florida was without No. 61 junior Emily De Oliveria, who was a late scratch in singles. Rowinska served as her replacement, with junior Alicia Dudeney and Lopez both moving up a line.

In doubles, Pepperdine proved to be the stronger side, as it dominated to earn the point.

On Court 1, Pepperdine’s No. 3 pair of junior Savannah Broadus and senior Janice Tjen bested Florida’s duo of junior Bente Spee and Dudeney 6-2.

Meanwhile, on Court 3, Pepperdine’s tandem of graduate student Lisa Zaar and freshman Conway dominated Florida graduate student Carly Briggs and sophomore Rachel Gailis 6-0.

With the Waves already securing the doubles point, the match on Court 2 between Florida’s freshmen pairing of Rowinska and Lopez and Pepperdine’s pair of freshman Vivian Yang and Redelijk did not finish.

In singles, Pepperdine continued to pick up steam and scored victories on the first three courts.

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On Court 1, Pepperdine’s No. 13 Zaar cruised to a two-set victory over Florida’s No. 57 Briggs 6-1, 6-1.

It was more of the same on Court 2, as Pepperdine’s No. 8 Broadus bested No. 40 Gailis 6-2, 6-2.

Pepperdine then clinched the victory on Court 3, where the Waves’ No. 102 Tjen defeated Florida senior Sara Dahlstrom 6-3, 6-2, in what was Dahlstrom’s return match from an injury she picked up in late January.

The matches on Courts 4 and 5 then played third set tiebreakers, as both matches stood one set to one at the conclusion of the overall matchup.

On Court 4, Florida’s Dudeney took the first set 2-6, but Pepperdine’s No. 120 graduate student Anna Campana cruised in the second 6-1. Campana then prevailed in the tiebreaker to win the point. 

Lopez then scored the Gators’ second point on Court 5 to finish off the match

The Gators will now look to rebound from their fifth-straight loss in their SEC opener on the road against the LSU Tigers (6-2) on Friday at 6 p.m.

Contact Max Bernstein at Follow him on X @maxbernstein23.

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