ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Florida women’s tennis team lost a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to UCLA in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
After the Bruins (20-7) stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the team scoring, the Gators (24-3) clawed their way back into the dual match with three consecutive singles wins to tie the score at 3-all.
The deciding match came down to court five, where Gator freshman Csilla Borsanyi battled Alex McGoodwin and it was the Bruin senior who fought off a furious comeback attempt to earn the 6-4, 7-6 (4) decision and clinch the dual match for UCLA.
There was just one break in the first set and it belonged to McGoodwin, who broke Borsanyi in the fifth game and held serve to take the opening frame. Borsanyi held in a long first game of the second set, which also was on-serve until McGoodwin earned a break in the fifth game and held to take a 4-2 lead. Both competitors then held before McGoodwin went to the baseline to serve for the match holding a 5-4 lead.
McGoodwin served an ace to begin the 10th game and followed with an overhead winner to take a 30-0 lead, eventually pushing the game score to 40-30 and dual match point. Borsanyi battled and forced duce, later fighting off two more match points before earning a break on the 12th point of the game.
Borsanyi then served and found herself in an early hole, down 15-40, but rallied and managed to hold serve despite four double-faults, to take a
6-5 lead. McGoodwin held to force a tiebreak, where her big serve helped keep Borsanyi off balance. There was just one mini-break in the tiebreak and it was McGoodwin who was the benefactor, taking the Gator rookie’s second trip to the baseline for a 3-1 lead, which she road to clinch the dual match.
“Csilla put fourth a Herculean effort, but McGoodwin found a way to hit big serves and big volleys in the clutch. She played phenomenal tennis to win the match and that was what it was going to take to beat Csilla,” Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “When that happens, you just have to tip your hat to them. They were outstanding.”
Florida won hard-fought battles on courts number one and four to even the team scoring and give Borsanyi a chance to factor into the dual match. Florida’s Diana Srebrovic was in a third-set slugfest with Riza Zalameda, where the deciding set was on-serve entering the 11th game. Srebrovic lost just one point in that game to earn the break and served out for the 6-3, 0-6, 7-5 victory, evening the team score at 3-all.
Shortly before Srebrovic punched her win, Nina Suvak, Florida’s lone senior, was forced to dig deep in her second set, as she did and rallied for the 6-3, 7-5 win against Ashley Joelson. Eight of the nine games in the first set were breaks, but Suvak managed the lone hold in the sixth game and road it to take the opening frame. Suvak then lost her serve twice in the second set and fell behind 5-2, with Joelson at the baseline serving for the set. That’s when Suvak began her comeback, winning five straight games with three breaks, capitalizing on her second match point to earn the win. Suvak ends her four-year tenure with a 105-28 singles record and a 114-38 doubles mark, which was tied for the fourth-most doubles wins in program history. Her 219 combined victories is the eighth most by a Gator.
“I thought Csilla did an amazing job, coming back in the second set like she did,” Suvak praised of the Florida freshman. “A match like hers was a lottery, anyone could have won. It’s tough, but that’s tennis. I’ve enjoyed every moment of my college experience. I’ve been waiting for my tennis career to end for such a long time, but not that it’s here, I don’t want it to end. I have such wonderful memories on and off the court with these teammates and I will never forget them.”
“I’m proud of our team because we did everything we could to get to today. I congratulate UCLA for playing outstanding tennis for three hours. They showed a different level of tennis and they earned the win today,” Thornqvist said. “Losing like we did today hurts, but we played good tennis. They just played unreal tennis. When you get beat by a team that plays phenomenal tennis, you just have to shake their hands. I’m proud that we kept fighting until the last point.”
Freshman Megan Alexander gave the Gators their first win of the dual match, as she topped Tracy Lin, 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 2 position. Alexander broke Lin in the fourth and eighth games to take the first set, but was broken to begin the second, as Lin then held to take a 2-0 lead. Alexander battled back, holding and then breaking and got the set back on-serve, were it remained until the Gator rookie broke Lin in the
10th and final game to secure the win.
“Megan had an outstanding tournament here in Athens,” Thornqvist said. “She came up with a huge win against Baylor and again today against UCLA. All three of our freshman gained invaluable experience and I can’t wait to see the improvement they’ll make between this season and next year and that bodes will for the future.”
Florida lost the doubles point for just the fifth time this season and it would prove to be costly.
UCLA claimed the first decision of the match, as Riza Zalameda and Yasmin Schnack zipped past Csilla Borsanyi and Diana Srebrovic, 8-2, which turned up the pressure for the Gators on the other two courts.
Megan Alexander and Anastasia Revzina held an early break over
41st-ranked Elizabeth Lumpkin and Stephanie Wetmore, taking a 4-2 lead after Revzina held. The UCLA duo broke back in the eighth game and held to get the match back on-serve. After Wetmore held in the 13th game to give the Bruins a 7-6 lead, Revizna went to the baseline to keep the match alive. The Gator pair fought off one match point to force duce. But Florida couldn’t capitalize on a game point and UCLA jumped on its second match point to clinch the all-important doubles-point.