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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Gators women’s tennis falls short against Texas A&M

The No. 19 Gators were defeated in their second SEC matchup of the season

Florida freshman Qavia Lopez celebrates securing a point in the Gators women's tennis season opener against Baylor on Jan. 20, 2024.
Florida freshman Qavia Lopez celebrates securing a point in the Gators women's tennis season opener against Baylor on Jan. 20, 2024.

Florida senior Sara Dahlstrom scored her biggest win of the season with a win against Texas A&M’s No. 29 sophomore Mia Kupres.

The Gator senior won the first set, but Kupres stormed back to win the second. With the overall match already decided in the Aggies’ favor, a third-set tiebreaker was held.

In the end, Dahlstrom prevailed in the nail-biting tiebreaker 13-11 to score the massive upset. Despite it not having an effect on the overall match’s result, the ranked victory serves as a huge moment in the senior’s campaign.

Coming off a win in its conference opener Friday night, the No. 19 Florida Gators women’s tennis team (5-6, 1-1 SEC) fell short in its matchup against the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies (10-5, 2-0 SEC) Sunday afternoon, losing 4-3.

Florida’s other points were earned in singles play by junior Alicia Dudeney and freshman Qavia Lopez, both of whom scored straight-set victories.

Dudeney’s victory came on Court 4 against Texas A&M freshman Lucianna Perez, as the junior impressed in a 6-4, 6-3 win.

Meanwhile, Lopez improved to 6-1 in singles play on the season with her Court 5 victory over Aggies sophomore Daria Smetannikov 6-4, 6-2.

The Aggies team boasts the No. 1 singles player, junior Mary Stoiana, and the No. 4 doubles tandem in the country, Kupres and Stoiana.

It was Stoiana who clinched the ultimate match victory, as she defeated Florida’s No. 40 sophomore Rachel Gailis 6-4, 6-4 on Court 1.

The pairing of Kupres and Stoiana also prevailed in their doubles matchup on Court 1 against Florida’s freshmen tandem of Qavia Lopez and Malwina Rowinska 6-2.

In doubles play, Florida scored a win on Court 3, where the team of graduate student Carly Briggs and Gailis bested Texas A&M’s team of sophomore Nicole Khirin and fifth-year Sydney Fitch.

However, the doubles point went to the Aggies, as on Court 2, their tandem of junior Jeanette Mireles and Perez prevailed over Florida’s team of junior Bente Spee and Dudeney.

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In singles, the Aggies quickly extended their lead with wins on Courts 2 and 6, which put Stoiana in prime position to clinch her side the victory.

On Court 2, Texas A&M’s No. 19 Khirin scored an impressive win over Florida’s No. 57 Briggs, as the sophomore won 6-1, 6-2.

Meanwhile, Texas A&M’s Mireles bested Florida’s Rowinska in straight-sets, winning 6-3, 6-2. 

Rowinska was featured in the lineup once again to substitute for the absence of Florida’s No. 61 junior Emily De Oliveira, who remained out of the lineup.

Now 1-1 in conference play and with a losing record, Florida will look to bounce back as they return to Gainesville to host a familiar opponent, the No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs (7-3, 1-0 SEC).

The Bulldogs defeated the Gators 4-1 when they matched up at the ITA National Indoor Championships in February. The rematch will take place on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.

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

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