UF women’s tennis reaches Sweet 16

Senior Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) capped an outstanding home career by leading the second-seeded University of Florida women’s tennis team to a 6-0 victory against Washington State in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships held at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex on Saturday.

Florida will face Michigan (21-7) in the NCAA Round of 16 on Thursday, May 17 in Athens, Ga., beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The 15th-ranked Wolverines defeated Texas A&M, 4-3, in their second round match. Florida is 2-0 all-time against Michigan, taking the 5-2 decision on Feb. 12, 2010 in the ITA National Team Indoor Round of 16 and the 5-0 victory on May 15, 1997, in the NCAA Round of 16.

The Gators improved to 13-1 all-time in NCAA Round of 32 matches and will be making their 29th overall appearance in the Round of 16, including their eighth straight trip.

Mather, who has helped Florida to a 54-0 record at home during her four-year career, earned wins on the doubles and singles courts Saturday, as she provided the first singles victory with a 6-3, 6-2 decision against Andjela Kankaras and earn her 16th consecutive win. Mather’s first set was on-serve through five games before the Gator senior earned a break and took a 4-2 lead. She broke again in the eighth game and served out for the first frame, carrying that momentum into the second set where she jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Kankaras held on her next two services games, as did Mather, who earned one last break in the seventh game before serving out to take the win in her final home match.

Sophomore Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) continued her impressive play showing in NCAA team singles matches, as she improved to 6-0 all-time in NCAA dual match singles action after her 6-0 6-2 victory against Charlotte Koning that gave Florida a 3-0 lead . Cercone won the first eight games of the match before Koning held to break up the bagel. The Gator sophomore earned another break in the fifth game that was the first of three straight breaks in the set, as Cercone ended the trend by serving out for the victory.

The matches on courts one, two and four all were playing match point at the same time and the Gators won that final point on all three to claim the 6-0 decision.

Sophomore Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) polished off her 6-4, 6-0 win on court four against Elizavete Luzina, just moments before junior Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) downed Liudimila Vasilieva 6-3, 6-1 and junior Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) defeated Elisabeth Fournier, 6-2, 6-3.

Oyen found herself trailing midway through the first set against Luzina, who earned a break in the fifth game and Oyen wasn’t able to square the match until breaking in the eighth game and holding for a 5-4 lead. She then broke Luzina at love to take the set and won the first four points on her serve to take a 1-0 lead in the second as she seemed to assume the momentum for the rest of the match en route to the win. Oyen improved to 20-1 in dual matches this year and collected her 49th career singles win.

Will was in an early hole on court one, where Vasilieva opened with a break and held a love to take a quick 2-0 lead. Will was able to get the set back on-serve with a break in the sixth game and then held, before winning the next two games to take the frame. She rode that into the second set, where she jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before Vasilieva was able to hold serve and avoid the bagel, as Will won the final two games and earn her ninth consecutive victory and improve to 22-1 overall year, including 17-1 in dual match action.

Embree opened with a 4-0 lead against Fournier, holding at love on her first trip to the baseline. She held serve throughout that first frame and won it 6-2. The two traded breaks early in the second set, which was on-serve until Embree broke Fournier in the seventh game and held for a 5-3 lead. The Gator All-American then earned one last break, losing just one point on Fournier’s serve to earn her 15th straight win.

UF sophomore Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) led Olga Musilovich, 7-5, 5-1, when the Gators clinched the dual match and play was halted.

The Gators came out strong again on the doubles court, where their top two teams dominated 8-1 and 8-2 and captured the doubles point for the important 1-0 lead.

Florida’s top-ranked tandem of Sofie Oyen and Allie Will raced out to a 7-0 lead before Ksenia Googe and Andjela Kankaras were able to hold and prevent the shutout, before Will used her powerful serve to close out the first individual decision of the dual match in 37 minutes.

Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather continued their impressive run together, as they polished off Liudmila Vasilieva and Elizaveta Luzina to clinch the doubles point and win their 22nd consecutive match, a run tied for the fourth longest in program history. Embree and Mather improved to 25-2 overall this year, including 22-0 in dual match play and 51-7 all-time in their career together.

Courtesy UF Communications