LEXINGTON, Ky. – The second-seeded University of Florida women’s tennis team battled past third-seeded Vanderbilt, 4-1, Saturday afternoon and advanced to the championship match of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
The Gators (21-1) face top-seeded Georgia (20-1) in the final on Sunday beginning at Noon from the Boone Tennis Complex. Florida, the five-time defending SEC Tournament champion, is making its 19th appearance in the final in the 20-year history of the event. The Gators have captured 15 of the league’s postseason titles, with Georgia claiming three. UF’s lone loss this season was a 4-3 setback to Georgia in Athens on March
11th, when the Bulldogs began the match winning the doubles point.
Saturday’s win against the Commodores (17-8) was filled with momentum swings, but it was the Gators who ultimately won the bigger points and emerged with their 10th consecutive victory.
Freshman Anastasia Revzina provided the dual-match clinching heroics by posting the biggest upset of her young career, defeating 28th-ranked Amanda Taylor 6-4, 6-2 at the No. 2 singles position after teaming with fellow rookie Megan Alexander to clinch the doubles point with a 9-8
(7-4) win at the No. 3 spot.
Florida jumped out to early leads on all three doubles courts and held the early momentum. The Commodores rallied and eventually took the win at the No. 2 spot, putting the pressure on Florida to win the remaining two matches to claim the important doubles point.
The No. 1 pair of Csilla Borsanyi and Diana Srebrovic seemed to be cruising, holding a 5-2 lead with the serve, before the Vandy duo broke back and held to close within 5-4. But Srebrovic and Brosanyi both held in their respective service games, as the Gators closed out the 8-5 win with a break and all eyes turned to court No. 3 where Florida appeared to be in control.
Alexander and Revzina jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead against Courtney Ulery and Liberty Sveke before Sevke held to get Vanderbilt on the board. The Gators held that one-break advantage until the ninth game, where the Commodores broke Revzina and tried to even the match in the next game. Ulery served a double-fault on break point and the Florida duo were back on top after Alexander held, giving the Gators a 7-4 lead. Sveke held and forced Revzina to serve for the match, but the Gator rookie couldn’t close out the win and Ulery held to tie the score at
Vanderbilt jumped out and held double-break point on Alexander’s serve, but the Gators dug deep and held the game on their second opportunity. Florida then raced out on Sveke’s serve and held a double-break point before the Vandy pair won four straight points to force a tiebreaker.
In the deciding tiebreak, the first four serves went accordingly before Vanderbilt earned a mini-break and held a 3-2 lead with the serve. But the Gators broke right back and the rest of the breaker was on-serve until Sveke’s volley caught the net cord, which gave UF a 6-4 lead. On Ulery’s next serve, Revzina provided the perfect touch on a drop volley winner at the net to seal the 9-8 (7-4) win and secure the doubles point for the Gators.
“Winning the doubles point by our No. 3 team was by far the biggest thing that happed for us today,” Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We had lost the momentum, but our two freshmen really composed themselves, changed their approach in the last five minutes of the match and really set the tone for us for the rest of the dual match. We started singles play with great energy as a result of that doubles win.”
Florida then seized more momentum after Vanderbilt’s Ulery retired from an injury against Csilla Borsanyi, who was leading on court No. 5, as the Gators took a 2-0 lead.
Junior Whitney Benik followed shortly afterwards with a convincing 6-0,
6-2 win over Sveke at the No. 6 position in 57 minutes, placing the Gators one victory from taking the dual match.
“I got out pretty quick and it helps everyone else to see a big lead,” Benik said. “Playing at the No. 6 position, I feel like it’s my responsibility to get off the court quick. I felt really, really good on the court today and just tried to win each point. The energy we have after winning the doubles point is hard to describe. There is a lot less pressure on our singles lineup is we can win the doubles point. This is such a great feeling to get to the SEC Tournament final again. We want to win this tournament every year.”
Even though Florida held a 3-0 lead less than an hour into singles action, the Gators wouldn’t clinch the dual match for another hour and
14 minutes, as competitors from both teams continued to slug it out on their respective courts.
Vanderbilt earned its lone team point on the No. 3 singles court, before Revzina produced her team-leading 13th consecutive victory, earning her first-ever win playing a career-high No. 2 spot in the lineup.
Revzina took a 3-0 lead to start the match, but Taylor roared back and evened the set at 3-all. The rest of the set was on-serve before Revzina was able to earn her second break which gave her the opening set. Revzina then ripped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set, but couldn’t hold in the fifth game, starting a string of five straight breaks, as the Gator rookie settled down and won on her second match-point of the day.
“I wanted to clinch this match so badly,” Revzina said. “I got a little nervous in the last couple games. I had one match point earlier, but made a mistake and got really mad at myself. I was able to focus and am so happy I was able to clinch.”
“On this stage, for all three of our freshmen to be able to step up and provide points in the team scoring was huge,” Thornqvist said. “For
17-year-old Revzina to be able to clinch it for us in singles, tells you just how deep our team is.”
Diana Srebrovic was in control on court No. 1, serving with a 6-4, 5-3 lead when play was abandoned, while Nina Suvak and Taka Bertrand were in a battle at the No. 4 spot, on-serve through five games in the third set.
SEC Women’s Tennis Championship Semifinal
No. 3-seeded Vanderbilt vs. No. 2-seeded Florida
Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex, Lexington, Ky.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
(1) Georgia d. (5) Tennessee, 4-1
(2) Florida d. (3) Vanderbilt, 4-1
UF’s Individual Results
Final Score: Florida 4, Vanderbilt 1
No. 1 Csilla Borsanyi/Diana Srebrovic (17), UF d. Amanda Fish/Amanda
Taylor (16), VU 8-5
No. 2 Taka Bertrand/Catherine Newman, VU d. Whitney Benik/Nina Suvak
(47), UF 8-5
No. 3 Megan Alexander/Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Courtney Ulery/Liberty
Skeve, VU 9-8 (4)*
No. 1 Diana Srebrovic (21), UF led Amanda Fish (19), VU 6-4, 5-3 – DNF
No. 2 Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Amanda Taylor (28), VU 6-4, 6-2*
No. 3 Catherine Newman (46), VU d. Megan Alexander (41), UF 6-0, 6-3
No. 4 Taka Bertrand (116), VU led Nina Suvak (122), UF 3-6, 6-3, 3-2
No. 5 Csilla Borsanyi (62), UF d. Courtney Ulery, VU 3-1, retired
No. 6 Whitney Benik, UF d. Liberty Sveke, VU 6-0, 6-2
Order of Finish: Doubles-2, 1, 3; Singles-5, 6, 3, 2