GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 1 Florida defeated South Florida, 7-0, on Tuesday evening and won its 98th consecutive home match.
The Gators, who recorded their 25th consecutive team victory dating back to last season, won their 23rd in a row against South Florida, improving to 50-1 all-time against their fellow Sunshine State program.
The final score wasn’t entirely indicative of how competitive several of the singles matches were.
Joanna Mather was the first Gator off the singles court, as she powered past Danielle Mills, 6-1, 6-0 and gave Florida a 2-0 lead in the team scoring. Mather, who recorded her team-leading 13th singles win of the season and the 85th of her career, opened the match winning eight of the first nine points.
Sofie Oyen gave Florida a 3-0 lead in the team scoring 19 minutes later, as she topped Alessandra Bonte, 6-4, 6-1. The two traded breaks and were on-serve through eight games until Oyen took her second break for a 5-4 lead and served out to take the opening set.
She then jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second, before Bonte held in the fifth game, but Oyen closed out the match by winning the final two games.
Allie Will provided the hard-fought clinching dual match win with a 6-1, 6-3 decision against Lereto Alonso Martinez. The first two games of the match were extremely long, but the Will prevailed in both and broke Alonso Martinez at love for a 3-0 lead.
The Bull broke back, but so did Will, as she then held and broke took the fifth break of the set to take it, 6-1. The first six games of the second were breaks and Will was the first to hold serve, as she did so in the seventh game and broke Alonso Martinez, before serving out.
Alexandra Cercone topped Fanny Fracassi, 7-6 (4), 6-0, and gave Florida a 5-0 lead, one hour and 46 minutes into singles action. Cercone and Fracassi traded breaks early and the first set was on-serve entering the ninth game, as the last four were breaks and headed to a tiebreak, where Cercone won the first two points en route to a 4-1 lead.
Fracassi rallied and cut the lead to 4-3, but the Cercone won the next points for a 6-3 advantage and closed out the frame two points later. That tiebreak win seemed to energize Cercone, who reeled off all six games of the second set.
Olivia Janowicz rallied to win her 21st consecutive singles dual match, netting a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory against Lucie Rey and helped Florida to a 6-0 lead.
Lauren Embree downed Ecaterina Vasenina, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 and closed out the Gator team sweep. The first set featured six breaks with four in Embree’s favor as she claimed the first frame. The next set also contained six breaks, this time with Vasenina taking charge and forcing a third set.
Three of the first four games of the deciding set were breaks, as Embree emerged with a 3-1 lead and held at love for 4-1. Vasenina held on to her serve in the next game, but Embree finished strong, losing just one point on her serve and breaking one last time to capture the win.
The Gators dominated on courts one and two, where the 15th-ranked tandem of Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather needed just 28 minutes to polish off Fanny Fracassi and Lucie Rey for the first win of the dual match. Sofie Oyen and Allie Will, ranked 10th in the country, followed with a 43-minute victory against Ecaterina Vasenina and Lereto Alonso Martinez, 8-3.
Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana capped off the doubles sweep with an 8-4 decision against Danielle Mills and Paula Montoya, as the Gators headed into the locker room before the start of singles competition with the team lead.
Court three was the tightest of the three doubles matches, as the first six games were on-serve until the Gators broke through in the seventh and Cercone held for a 5-3 lead. Florida broke again and the last three games were held, as Cercone served out for the 53-minute win.