Women’s tennis hosts No. 9 Baylor with 99-match regular-season home win streak on line

The top-ranked University of Florida women’s tennis team will put its 99-match regular-season home win streak on the line when the Gators play host to No. 9 Baylor Wednesday at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex, where first-serve is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.

Wednesday’s match against Baylor originally was slated for February 5th, but the Bears’ travel problems due to weather forced its postponement.

The Gators are 3-0 all-time versus the Bears, with the last meeting a 4-2 decision on May 18, 2007 in the NCAA Round of 16. Wednesday will be the first time the two programs have squared off in Gainesville.

“Baylor poses a tremendous challenge for us,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We really need to have our hearts and minds ready for Wednesday. [The win streak] comes from playing tough at home and having good players and great crowds. Beating Baylor is what we’re focused on, not the win streak.”

Florida (17-1, 6-0 SEC) enters the match against Baylor (14-3, 4-1 Big 12) having won 99 consecutive regular-season home matches – not including Southeastern Conference Tournament or NCAA Championship events. The current streak is the longest of its kind in program history, passing the 71 in a row compiled from 1994-2001. The Gators last regular-season setback at Linder Stadium was on April 7, 2002, when Georgia defeated Florida, 4-3.

Florida also sports an overall program-record 90-match home win streak, which includes 15 wins in postseason play (SEC and NCAA Tournament). The Gators set a new standard with their 6-1 victory over Mississippi State on March 29, 2009, passing the previous record of 60. The last time the Gators fell at home was on May 15, 2004, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Miami (Fla.), 4-3.

Florida boasts a remarkable 410-25 all-time home record when playing in Gainesville, including an 8-0 record in 2010-11.

Individually, Gator sophomore Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) has won 14 consecutive singles matches, while pairing with Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) to win 13 straight on the doubles court.

Sophomore Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) is ranked No. 7 nationally in singles, with Embree checking in at No. 26. Mather is No. 26 in the most recent ITA National Singles and Doubles Rankings that is released every other week, the next one due late on March 29. Freshmen Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.), Alex Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) are ranked No. 35, 45 and 90, respectively.

Similar to the Gators’, the Bear’s lineup is stocked with nationally-ranked singles players.

Baylor is led by Sona Novakova, who is ranked No. 19 in the country for singles. Nina Secerbegovic is ranked No. 34, while Diana Nakic is ranked No. 44, Karolina Filipiak is No. 116 and Jelena Stanivuk is No. 119.

Wednesday’s match marks the beginning of a busy week for the Gators, who will play at Kentucky on Friday and at No. 14 Vanderbilt on Sunday.

Parking for Wednesday’s match is at the grass lot in the north end of the track, accessible from SW 2nd Avenue. It is free to the public attending the match.

The first 100 fans in attendance will receive a commemorative 2010 SEC Championship cup.