WOMEN'S TENNIS: Unbeaten Gators Trounce USF, 4-1

The second-ranked University of Florida women's tennis team defeated instate rival USF for the 18th consecutive time and improved its record in the series to a commanding 43-1 with Monday evening's 5-2 victory at the Ring Tennis Complex.

The Gators remained perfect on the young season, improving to 4-0, while the short-handed Bulls suffered their initial loss of the year, falling to 4-1.

Florida earned an early advantage after only four members from USF were able to participate due to injuries, giving the Gators a 2-0 lead in the team scoring before even taking the court. UF also earned a default at No. 3 doubles, meaning the Gators needed only to win one of the two matches contested to take the doubles point.

UF wound up winning both doubles matches and took a 3-0 lead entering singles play, where junior Jennifer Magley provided the clinching dual match point in one hour and one minute with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Neyssa Etienne at the No. 1 position. Magley opened the match breaking Etienne at love, before holding and earning a second break to take a quick 3-0 lead. Etienne broke right back, but Magley regrouped and ripped off the next nine games to take the match in convincing fashion.

Senior Zerene Reyes was the next Gator off the court, recording a 6-2, 6-4 win over Gabriela Duch in the baseline battle at the No. 3 position. Reyes lost her serve in the opening game of the match and trailed 2-0 before settling down and winning the next six games to take the first set. Reyes then held to begin the second and broke Duch to reverse the first set score through two games. That game marked the beginning of six straight service breaks, as Reyes held a 4-3 lead with the serve in Duch hands. The Bull finally held for the first time since her initial serve in the match to even the set at 4-all. Reyes then held and broke Duch one more time to take the victory in one hour and 23 minutes.

USF won its lone match of the contest on court No. 4, where Liz Cruz out-dualed Alex Liles 7-5, 6-1 in one hour and 32 minutes. The match opened with seven consecutive service breaks, as Cruz held a 4-3 lead with serve, before holding to end the trend. Liles then held for the first time in the match and broke Cruz in the 10th game to even the score at 5-alll. But Liles couldn't hold her next serve and Cruz served out for the first set, carrying that momentum in the second set by taking a quick 3-0 lead with a pair of breaks. Liles next earned her first break of the second set, but couldn't hold and Cruz served out for the win.

The No. 2 singles match was the last to be decided, as UF's Boglarka Berecz and Courtney Vernon battled for two hours and 10 minutes, with the Gator junior falling 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (3). The third and final set began with consecutive service breaks before each competitor was able to hold on their respective serves. The two then traded breaks and holds before Berecz earned the all-important break in the ninth game, where she took a 5-4 lead with the serve. Berecz held one match point in the 10th game, but couldn't close it out, as Vernon battled and remained alive with a break. Vernon then held to take a 6-5 lead and jumped on Berecz's serve, even earning one match point. But Berecz dug deep as the temperature dipped and forced a deciding tiebreaker, which began with four consecutive mini-breaks and was on-serve entering the sixth point that Berecz double-faulted to give Vernon a 4-2 lead which she carried to the win.

In doubles, UF's pair of Magley and Reyes needed just 38 minutes to defeat Neyssa Etienne and Gabriela Duch 8-1 and secure the doubles point. The Gator duo earned a break in the second game and ripped out to a quick 3-0 lead. The Bulls then held for their lone win in the match, before Magley and Reyes won the final five games to earn the victory.

On court No. 2, UF's freshmen tandem of Whitney Benik and Lolita Frangulyan rallied from an early break to top Liz Cruz and Courtney Vernon 8-6. The Bulls were in control during the first three games of the match, before Benik served the Gator's first win. After both teams held, the Gators earned a break in the seventh game and then Benik held again to get match back on serve at 4-4. USF held in a long ninth game, before Frangulyan evened the match at 5-all and the Gators broke in a long 11th game to earn the break, which they rode to victory.

The Gators return to action on Saturday, when the team plays host to South Alabama beginning at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Final Score: Florida 5, USF 2

Doubles

  1. No. 1 Jennifer Magley/Zerene Reyes (13), UF def. Neyssa Etienne/Gabriela Duch, USF 8-1*
  2. No. 2 Whitney Benik/Lolita Frangulyan (3), UF def. Liz Cruz/Courtney Vernon, USF 8-6
  3. No. 3 UF wins by default

Singles

  1. No. 1 Jennifer Magley (11), UF def. Neyssa Etienne, USF 6-1, 6-0*
  2. No. 2 Courtney Vernon, USF def. Boglarka Berecz (55), UF 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (3)
  3. No. 3 Zerene Reyes (13), UF def. Gabriela Duch, USF 6-2, 6-4
  4. No. 4 Liz Cruz, USF def. Alex Liles (105), UF 7-5, 6-1
  5. No. 5 UF wins by default
  6. No. 6 UF wins by default

Order of Finish: Doubles-3, 1, 2; Singles-5/6, 1, 3, 4, 2


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