Florida Gators women’s tennis advances to SEC championship

Special report on the Florida Gators women’s tennis team:
Florida defeated Arkansas, 4-2, in the SEC Tournament semifinals on Saturday at Knoxville’s Barksdale Stadium. The No. 2-seeded Gators will compete in the championship match, which will be televised live on SEC Network Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Florida (18-7) will square off against Vanderbilt or Ole Miss in the final. The Commodores and Rebels compete in the second semifinal this afternoon.

For the second straight day, McCartney Kessler and Josie Kuhlman clinched the doubles point for Florida on Court 2. Katie Kubicz and Peggy Porter picked up the first doubles victory on Court 3 before Arkansas’ Ana Oparenovic and Tatum Rice defeated Anna Danilina and Victoria Emma on Court 1 to set up the decider at No. 2.

In singles action, Arkansas got on the board first as Natsuho Arakawa earned the Court 4 win over Victoria Emma to even the count, 1-1. For the second straight day, Porter provided wins in singles and doubles, finishing off Tatum Rice in three sets at No. 5 singles to retake the lead for Florida.

Mia Jurasic evened the tally again for Arkansas, earning a three-set victory at No. 3 against McCartney Kessler. The tie was short-lived, as the Gators picked up wins from Kubicz and Josie Kuhlman in quick succession soon thereafter, with Kuhlman’s clincher coming in a second-set tiebreaker that the Gator senior dominated for a 7-5, 7-6(2) victory against Ana Oparenovic.

Match Notes

* The Gators won their semifinal match for the 27th time in 31 all-time SEC Tournaments.

* Florida won the doubles point for the 15th time this season, improving to 14-1 when doing so.

* It marked the eighth time this season that the Gators have gotten their clinching point from the No. 2 singles position.

* Kuhlman earned her fifth clinching singles win of the season.

Series Notes

* Florida improved to 30-1 all-time vs. Arkansas, including 3-0 in the SEC Tournament.

* Before today, the Gators’ most recent SEC Tournament meeting vs. the Razorbacks was a 5-1 win in the 1998 semifinals. The Gators went on to defeat Georgia in the championship match that year.

What’s Next for the Gators

* Florida will compete in the SEC Tournament championship match for the 27th time in the event’s 31 years. The Gators are 20-6 in the title match.

* In all-time SEC Tournament action, UF is 12-2 against Vanderbilt and 9-1 vs. Ole Miss.

* If UF meets Vanderbilt, it would be a rematch of last year’s championship match, which the Commodores won, 4-3. It would also be a rematch of last weekend’s regular season finale to decide the SEC, which Vandy won in Gainesville, also by a score of 4-3.

* The Gators topped Ole Miss in Oxford on March 1, 4-3, in this year’s regular season meeting.

Match 25
#10 Florida vs. Arkansas
Barksdale Stadium * Knoxville, TN
SEC Tournament Semifinals
Saturday, April 21, 2018

Final: Florida 4, Arkansas 2

Doubles (Order of finish: 3,1,2*)
1. #40 Ana Oparenovic/Tatum Rice (ARK) def. #13 Anna Danilina/Victoria Emma (UF) 6-4
2. McCartney Kessler/Josie Kuhlman (UF) def. Giulia Pairone/Mia Jurasic (ARK) 6-4*
3. Katie Kubicz/Peggy Porter (UF) def. Agne Cepelyte/Natsuho Arakawa (ARK) 6-3
Singles (Order of finish: 4,5,3,6,2*)
1. #14 Anna Danilina (UF) vs. #50 Giulia Pairone (ARK) 7-5, 6-7(5), 0-1 unfinished
2. #47 Josie Kuhlman (UF) def. #89 Ana Oparenovic (ARK) 7-5, 7-6(2)*
3. Mia Jurasic (ARK) def. #90 McCartney Kessler (UF) 6-2, 0-6, 6-4
4. Natsuho Arakawa (ARK) vs. Victoria Emma (UF) 6-2, 6-3
5. Peggy Porter (UF) def. Tatum Rice (ARK) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
6. Katie Kubicz (UF) def. Jackie Carr (ARK) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4

Previous articleFlorida Gators gymnastics advances to NCAA Super Six final
Next articleDyson falters, Kentucky avoids the sweep
Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.