Allie Will advances to NCAA semifinals

Florida’s Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championships on Saturday after her 6-3, 6-3 quarterfinal victory against Texas A&M’s No. 7-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

The top-seeded Gator will play Stanford’s third-seeded Nicole Gibbs on Sunday at Noon in the semifinals. Will and Gibbs have squared off twice on the collegiate level, with Will taking this year’s regular-season dual match decision 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Feb. 12 in Stanford and Gibbs winning last year’s meeting on May 27 in the round of 16 at the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3).

On Saturday, Will opened her quarterfinal match with a break and held at love for the 2-0 lead. Sanchez won the next three games to get the set back on-serve. Will held and won a long game on Sanchez’s serve to take the important break to go up, 4-3. The Gator junior held and earned another break to win the first set. She then jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second before Sanchez held. The next four games were breaks before Will went to the baseline with a 5-3 lead and served out for the victory.

“Mentally, I’ve been getting better every single day and I thought I really went for it today,” Will shared. “Sanchez played a lot like I do. I just tried to hit the ball deep and move forward whenever possible. I was really happy that I went for it when I was up 5-3. I had an especially big forehand today and that’s why I was able to close it out.”

Will improved to 109-12 in her career, including 26-2 this year. She reached the NCAA Round of 16 each of her first two years at the national singles event and is making her first semifinal appearance.

“I’m very excited,” Will said of reaching the NCAA Semifinals. “Today, I honestly did not focus on winning so much. I just thought about playing every single point and I went after it a lot more and that’s why I’m in the semifinals. I’m really looking forward to playing Nicole Gibbs tomorrow. She’s a great player and we always have a really good match.”

The Gator doubles team of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) lost a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships, falling 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) to Tennessee’s No. 10-ranked team of Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely. Embree and Mather held two match points in the 12th game of the third set, but Vols pair fought them off and held to force the tiebreaker, which they won against the No. 22-ranked Florida tandem.

As a team, Embree and Mather conclude their career pairing with a 55-9 all-time record, with a 29-4 mark coming this year. Their 55 wins rank as the fourth-most by a Gator tandem in program history. Individually, Embree sports a career 95-16 doubles record, as well as a 29-5 mark this year. Mather posted a 112-32 in her doubles career – the seventh most wins in UF history, with a 30-5 record this season.

NCAA Women’s Singles & Doubles Championships

Dan Magill Tennis Complex * Athens, Ga.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

NCAA Singles Quarterfinals (8)

#1 Allie Will (1), FLORIDA def. #6 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (7), TEXAS A&M, 6-3, 6-3

#3 Nicole Gibbs (3), STANFORD def. #8 Jana Juricova (6), CALIFORNIA, 6-2, 7-5

#13 Zsofi Susanyi (9-16), CALIFORNIA def. #26 Sabrina Santamaria, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 6-2, 7-6(4)

#5 Mallory Burdette (5), STANFORD def. #2 Beatrice Capra (2), DUKE, 6-3, 6-2

NCAA Doubles Quarterfinals (8) – UF only

#10 Natalie Pluskota-Kata Szekely, TENNESSEE def. #22 Lauren Embree-Joanna Mather, FLORIDA, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3)

Courtesy UF Communications