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Monday, May 27, 2024
<p>Florida’s pair of freshmen Malwina Rowinska (left) and Qavia Lopez (right) celebrate winning a doubles point in the Gators women’s tennis match against Baylor on Tuesday, February, 6, 2024.</p>

Florida’s pair of freshmen Malwina Rowinska (left) and Qavia Lopez (right) celebrate winning a doubles point in the Gators women’s tennis match against Baylor on Tuesday, February, 6, 2024.

Freshman Qavia Lopez faced a rocky start in her doubles matchup. But as the singles began, she knew this was her opportunity to turn the tide. In her opening set against senior Esther Adeshina, Lopez dominated offensively to cruise to an unanswered 6-0 win. 

Set 2 unfolded with more of a challenge. Adeshina pushed defensively, but Lopez maintained her composure and refused to yield to the pressure. Lopez won 68% of her service points and held her opponent to 43% at the end of Set 2. She clinched the second set victory with a hard-fought 6-4 win and opened the scoreboard for Florida.

The Florida Gators women’s tennis team (5-7, 1-2 SEC) defeated the No. 16 Tennessee Volunteers (10-3, 2-1 SEC) 5-2 for its first SEC win of the season. 

Doubles proved to be tough for the Gators. 

Court 1 held freshman Malwina Rowinska and Lopez against Tennessee senior Sofia Cabezas and junior Elza Tomase. The Gators kept pace initially, but the Volunteers capitalized on Florida’s delayed responses to shift the match 6-3 in favor of Tennessee. 

On Court 2, UF juniors Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee fell 6-1 to Tennessee graduate student Alana Wolfberg and Adeshina. Florida struggled from the offset once the Volunteers took command with a series of successful breaks. UT crafted a heavy lead early on, and the Gators failed to recover and conceded another doubles win.

Florida graduate student Carly Briggs and sophomore Rachel Gailis made the final doubles fight a see-saw battle. They opened the match with the Gators’ only lead in doubles, but Tennessee soared on two service breaks to make the score 2-1. 

The Gators led strong offensive efforts from the backcourt to even the match at 3-3. Despite UF’s comeback attempts, the match ended 5-4 UT when the first two doubles wins were secured for the Volunteers, awarding Tennessee a 1-0 match advantage. 

Singles played out with a stronger rhythm for the Gators. 

Lopez took control of her singles match on Court 5 to secure an effortless 6-0 win in the first set. In Set 2, she persevered with a 6-4 victory against Adeshina. Lopez’s win earned the Gators their first point in the match to even it 1-apiece. 

Rowinska found herself grappling to match Anzalotta's pace on Court 6. She conceded to a 6-3 loss in Set 1. Set 2 mirrored the challenge, and Rowinska battled a three-point deficit but ultimately fell short with a 6-2 loss, allowing the Volunteers to regain their lead 2-1.

On Court 3, Briggs harnessed her energy to storm to a 6-2 victory in the first set. In Set 2, she continued her relentless momentum and capitalized on three consecutive break points to build a 3-0 lead. 

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Wolfberg managed to climb back from her deficit and forced the game to a 6-5 standing point. In the final rally of the game, Wolfberg served a weak hit directly toward the net to hand the Gators a 7-5 victory. Briggs’ win tied the match at 2-2. 

On Court 4, Dudeney kept the momentum flowing with a 6-3 Set 1 victory. In Set 2, she shut down Tennessee’s efforts to return in the singles match with a 7-6 win. Her singles win offered the Gators’ first lead in the match. 

Dahlstrom breezed through Set 1 on Court 2 against Tomase with an early 3-2 lead. She served promising breaks and rode the momentum to take the first set 6-3. But Tomase headed a late-match comeback and racked up a 7-5 win in the Volunteers’ favor. In the tiebreaker, Dahlstrom locked in and recorded the Gators’ fourth point with a 6-3 win.

On Court 1, Gailis lost control of the ball on the sidelines of the court to offer her opponent a late-match comeback. However, her heavy serves secured the final two points and awarded Florida a 6-4, Set 1 victory.  Set 2 played out in Tennessee’s favor as Gailis couldn’t keep the heat up. In the tiebreaker, Gailis won the match for Florida in the final rallies with a 7-5 score. 

Next, the Gators will play the Auburn Tigers Friday at 5 p.m. at home at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. 

Contact Krisha Sanghavi at Follow her on Twitter at @krishasang. 

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Krisha Sanghavi

Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.

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