Florida’s Lauren Embree was able to overcome numerous adversity throughout the season, but a painful toenail and skin issue forced her to retire from her semifinal match on Sunday in the NCAA Singles Championships at the Taube Family Tennis Center.
Embree fought off two set points in the opening frame when she was down 5-4 against Stanford’s Stacey Tan and rallied to take the first set 7-5. She was serving to keep the second on-serve when she couldn’t fend off a break and Tan took a 5-3 lead and served out to even the match and force a third set. During the ensure change-over, Embree decided she was unable to continue and retired from the match.
“Lauren’s been such a warrior, but today she was forced to retire,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “The nail was torn off her toe and she was having real issues with her skin. She’s the toughest player I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching. For Lauren not to continue, you know that she was hurt badly. She had a great run, with lots of things to be proud of this year. This is obviously disappointing but I know she’ll be motivated to do even better next year.”
Embree’s run marked the 13th time a Gator has reached the semifinal round and the first since Jennifer Magley in 2005.
The 17th-ranked Gator sophomore had won 28th consecutive singles match and was undefeated entering Sunday’s semifinal match against the 43rd-ranked Tan, who will play California’s top-seeded Jana Juricova for the title on Monday afternoon.