No. 18 Florida comeback attempt fails against No. 68 Kentucky

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03/22/2023 | 3 p.m.

March 22 (Wednesday) / 3 p.m.


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s No. 18 women’s tennis team trailed early and couldn’t overcome the deficit against No. 68 Kentucky Sunday afternoon at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex, losing 4 -2.

For Florida (8-4, 3-2 SEC), the doubles game started strong against Kentucky (8-6, 2-3 SEC) thanks to once again a dominant display from No. 60 Carly Briggs /Rachel Gailis on court two. Taking a 3-0 lead, the Gators pair converted three breaks on Ellie Eades/Zoe Hammond’s serve and took the win 6-2 for their sixth straight win.

Third in doubles, Emma Shelton/Sophie Williams trailed 2-0 early in the game, but leveled by winning the next two games. Lidia Gonzales/Florencia Uruttia broke Shelton/William’s serve to go up 5-3, however, the Florida pair broke before Gonzales/Uruttia managed to convert another break for the 6-4 win. That left the field wide open on first court with Alicia Dudeney/Bente Spee hoping to convert a 5-4 break on Carlota Molina/Elizabeth Steven’s serve, but Kentucky held on to snatch the double point.

Kentucky scored another point for the 2-0 lead with a win on court six, as Maialen Morante knocked down Shelton, 6-2, 6-0. Needing wins in four of the remaining five singles matches, Dudeney pulled the Gators back into one by dominating the two sets, 6-2, 6-2 on court two against Eades and extending his winning streak to four games.

After giving up the first set, No. 47 Briggs recorded a bagel on No. 74 Florencia Urrutia to force a deciding third set and potentially turn the game around in favor of Florida. Still, Urrutia only allowed Briggs to win his first service game and regained his composure to win the next six games, completing the triumph.

Trailing 3-1, the remaining three courts were locked in the third set deciders. Playing fourth for the first time in her career, Emily De Oliveira took a 4-0 lead to win the first frame, 6-3 over Gonzalez, but lost the second, 6-1. The second showed her resilience and won the first two games to propel them into a clinical 6-1 third set as they once again applied the pressure on Kentucky.

Kentucky took the win on court three in a home-and-away matchup between Gailis and Molina. Despite dropping the first 6-3, Gailis continued to fight in the second and climbed through the set, 6-1. Although the Wildcat came back to their performance in the first and secured the game, 6-3.

Florida focuses on Michigan at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex ahead of a pair of SEC road games next weekend.

Head Coach Roland Thornqvist
On the loss to Kentucky…
“I thought Kentucky was the toughest team. I thought we had made really good progress, to be honest with you, I didn’t see it coming when I woke up this morning. We were really tough Friday and competed really hard. We were lacking in that department today. But, it’s a young team. Sometimes you have your ups and downs with a lot of rookies in the lineup. Kentucky did some good work. They played aggressive doubles and then kept the ball under pressure. in singles. It’s a hard pill to swallow because I thought we were doing really well and now we have to go back to the drawing board and figure it out things by Wednesday.

1. Carlota Molina/Elizabeth Stevens (UK) def. Alicia Dudeney/Bente Spee (UF), 6-4
2. No. 60 Carly Briggs/Rachel Gailis (UF) def. Ellie Eades/Zoe Hammond (UK), 6-2
3. Lidia Gonzales/Florencia Uruttia (UK) def. Emma Shelton/Sophie Williams (UF), 6-4
Order of arrival: 2, 3, 1

1. No. 74 Florencia Urrutia (UK) def. No. 47 Carly Briggs (UF), 6-3, 0-6, 6-1
2. Alicia Dudeney (UF) def. Ellie Eades (UK), 6-2, 6-2
3. Carlota Molina (UK) def. Rachel Gailis (UF), 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
4. Emily De Oliveira (UF) def. Lidia Gonzalez (UK), 6-3, 1-6, 6-1
5. Bente Spee (UF) v Zoe Hammond (UK), 6-4, 1-6, 5-3, unfinished
6. Maialen Morante (UK) def. Emma Shelton (UF), 6-2, 6-0
Finishing order: 6, 2, 1, 4, 3

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