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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Gators women’s tennis suffers opening round loss in first round of ITA National Indoor Championships

The No. 8 Gators were defeated by the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal 4-0 on Friday in the ITA National Indoor Championships

Florida senior Carly Briggs stands on the court during the Gators' match against the Pepperdine Waves Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.
Florida senior Carly Briggs stands on the court during the Gators' match against the Pepperdine Waves Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

On Friday, the No. 8 Gators women’s tennis team (4-2) faced tough competition in the opening round of the ITA National Indoor Championships. The team faced the 21-time national champion and No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (6-0).

The Cardinal played up to their ranking, dominating the Gators 4-0.

With the loss, the Gators are eliminated from the indoor championships and will now compete in consolation matches for the remainder of the weekend.

In doubles action, Stanford stormed ahead early, gaining wins on Courts 2 and 3 to earn the doubles point.

On Court 2, Stanford’s pair of juniors Connie Ma and Alexandra Yepifanova bested Florida’s pair of freshmen Qavia Lopez and Malwina Rowinska 6-2. It was Lopez and Rowinska’s first defeat as a duo this season.

Meanwhile, on Court 3, Stanford freshman Katherine Hui and junior Valencia Xu defeated Florida graduate student Carly Briggs and sophomore Rachel Gailis 6-4.

With the doubles point already secured for Stanford, the match on Court 1 between Florida’s tandem of juniors Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee and Stanford’s No. 56 pair of graduate student Angelica Blake and sophomore Alexis Blokhina did not finish.

The story stayed the same in the singles portion of the match, which ended abruptly after Stanford scored wins on the top three courts to secure the 4-0 victory.

On Court 3, Stanford’s No. 75 Yepifanova defeated Florida junior No. 44 Emily De Oliveira 6-0, 6-2 in a straight-set victory that lasted just under one hour

In the meantime on Court 1, Stanford’s No. 56 Blake defeated Florida’s No. 67 Briggs 6-1, 6-2 to put the Cardinal one match away from the victory.

The victory was clinched on Court 2, where Stanford’s No. 12 Ma bested Florida’s No. 70 Gailis 6-3, 6-2.

As a result of the swift victory, the matches on Courts 4, 5 and 6 did not conclude.

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On Court 4, the bout between Stanford’s No. 55 Blokhina and Florida’s Dudeney ended with Dudeney up 1-0.

Meanwhile, on Court 6, Stanford’s No. 69 Xu led Florida’s Rowinska after one set when the bout finished.

Also, the match between Stanford’s Hui and Florida’s Lopez on Court 5 was abandoned with Hui leading following the first set.

After the sweep, Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist gave credit to the Cardinal and stressed that every match is a learning experience.

“We’re still trying to find our way indoors, but we’re here this weekend to get exposure to the top 5 teams to see what we need to be there at the end of May,” Thornqvist said. “We will be better for every match.”

Now, the Gators will turn their attention to the consolation portion of the weekend, while the Cardinal will move on to the quarterfinals.

The Gators will then return to Gainesville to face Pepperdine on Feb. 25.

Contact Max Bernstein at mbernstein@alligator.org. Follow him on X @maxbernstein23.

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