Embree places second at USTA/ITA event

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Fourth seed Chelsey Gullickson from the University of Georgia defeated UF’s Lauren Embree in the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Singles Final, 6-2, 7-5. The defeat marks the end of a notable tournament for Embree, who earned an at-large bid to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships by reaching the quarterfinals this weekend.

“Lauren has worked really hard. She has worked, probably, the hardest she has in the two and half years she’s been here and you don’t always immediately get the payoff from all your work,” head coach Roland Thornqvist shared.  “Coming into this week Lauren hadn’t played enough matches. I don’t think she was confident like she had been in the past. She played a lot of matches this weekend and that really will help her.”

In the singles final, Gullickson quickly jumped out to a five games to none lead in the first set before Embree could answer back with two games of her own. Gullickson overpowered her way to a 6-2 first-set win.

Embree started turning things around in the second set and opened up a 3-0 lead. Gullickson battled back winning four of the next five games to take the lead in the second set, 5-4. Embree fought back after trailing 40-love to win the next game, tying it at 5-5. Gullickson captured the next game making it 6-5 in favor of the Georgia Bulldog. Gullickson went on to claim the next game and the match, 6-2, 7-5.

“Gullickson played superb tennis. She was the better player today and there’s not much you can say besides to congratulate her and [that] she played at a really high level.”

Throughout the four-day tournament, UF played in 24 singles matches and seven doubles matches.

“Our goal coming in was to play a lot of matches and we did. That is going to help us, clearly,” Thornqvist said. “It’s always nice to have matches to find out what we need to work on in practice. A match is much better litmus test than two weeks of practice”

Gullickson teamed up with Lilly Kimbell to take home the doubles championship. Gullickson/Kimbell defeated fellow Georgia Bulldogs, Kate Fuller and Lauren Herring, 8-2, in the finals on Monday afternoon.

The Gators women’s tennis team now has two singles competitors, Allie Will and Embree, and two doubles teams, Will/Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) and Embree/Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) all qualified for the USTA/ITA Indoor Championships set to take place Nov. 3-6 in Flushing, N.Y.

The University of Florida women’s tennis team played host this weekend to its lone home event of the 2011 fall season – the 2011 USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Championships, Oct. 21-24.

It was the first time the Gators have played host to the ITA Women’s Tennis Regional Championships, held at the Ring Tennis Complex.

The four-day singles and doubles individual event serves as a feeder into the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, considered the second leg of the collegiate Grand Slam. The Indoor Championships takes place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, Nov. 3-6.

Daily Schedule of Events

Detailed schedule of play for MONDAY, start time 10 a.m.: Singles Finals (Main & Consolation Draws) Doubles Finals (Main Draw)—Results will be updated throughout each day’s play on www.GatorZone.com/tennis/women, with PDF files of the draws available on that same website within the ‘GATORS GAME DAY’ box.

2011 USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Women’s Tennis Championships

Ring Tennis Complex * Gainesville, Fla.

Hosted by the University of Florida

Complete Results for Monday, October 24, 2011

Singles, Finals—Chelsey Gullickson (9), UGA d. Lauren Embree (5), UF, 6-2, 7-5

Singles Consolation, Finals—Aline Berkenbrock, UNF d. Leyla Erkan, FSU, 6-3, 6-1

Doubles, Finals—Chelsea Gullickson/Lilly Kimbell, UGA d. Kate Fuller/Lauren Herring (20), UGA, 8-2

(There is not a consolation doubles draw at this event.)