ATHENS, Ga. — Second-seeded Florida advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships after outlasting Miami (Fla.) on the doubles court, and then carrying that momentum onto the singles courts where the Gators earned a 4-0 victory and their third consecutive trip to the semifinals on Saturday.
After splitting the doubles results on courts one and two, Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 victory.
Cercone and Hitimana were up a break at 4-1 before Anna Bartenstein and Brittany Dubins were able to get the match back on-serve with the break in the seventh game and held for four-all. Cercone then held at love and it stayed that way through the 13th game, which proved to be a pivotal one for the Gators, who took away five break points and capitalized on their second game-point in the 18-point game for a 7-6 lead. Bartenstein then held a game-point on her serve, but the UF pair fought that off, as well as another and captured the doubles point on their third match point.
Florida (25-1) fed off the momentum to get singles wins from Cercone, Olivia Janowicz and Joanna Mather.
Cercone showed no signs of being tired after her drama-filled doubles win, as she was the first off the singles court with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Liat Zimmerman. Sheimproved to 7-0 all-time in NCAA singles dual matches, earned the 65th overall singles win of her career.
Janowicz, who also collected her second singles win at the 2012 NCAA Championships site, followed Cercone with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Dubins and earned her ninth consecutive singles victory.
Mather polished off the NCAA quarterfinal win with a 6-2, 6-4 decision on court three against No. 71 Lina Lileikite and earned her 17th consecutive singles win, tying her with Hitimana for the Gators’ longest active win streak.
Miami (21-5) held the early lead after taking the 8-4 decision on the doubles court two against UF’s Lauren Embree and Mather, who entered the contest with a 23-match winning streak and were 48-1 all-time in dual match competition, including a 23-0 record this year in team play.
The Gators even doubles play with a decisive 8-3 win on court one, where top-ranked Allie Will and Sofie Oyen downed No. 20 Melissa Bolivar and Zimmerman. The Florida pair jumped out to a 5-0 lead en route to the victory and set the stage for the thriller on court three.