Women's tennis: Embree, Gators advance with 4-0 win over Duke in NCAAs

URBANA, Ill. - Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) posted straight-set singles wins and helped top-seeded Florida blank No. 15 Duke, 4-0, and march into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships played at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.

The injury-plagued Blue Devils reached the round of 16 with just five players because of injury, but in the end were no match for the Gators after having to forfeit the No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles positions meaning Florida needed just one win on either of the doubles courts and two singles victories to capture the dual match.

The Gators did just that.

"If anyone can appreciated what Duke did this year, getting here with four players, it's (assistant coach) Dave (Balogh) and me," said UF head coach Roland Thornqvist, who was in a near identical situation in 2009 and took the Gators to the round of 16 before bowing out of the NCAA Championships. "It's a remarkable feat on their part to get to the round of 16, and they gave us all we could handle on the courts. Where they could be competitive, there were really, really competitive. You have to really appreciate what they did."

The No. 11-ranked team of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) earned an 8-1 victory on court one against Mary Clayton and Hanna Mar in 32 minutes and Florida took the doubles point for the 17th time this season.

As Duke (16-10) forfeited the No. 6 singles spot, the Gators had a quick 2-0 lead before a point was played on any of the singles courts.

GatorVision Online: http://www.gatorvision.tv/mediaPortal/player.dbml?id=2462905&db_oem_id=6500

At the No. 5 singles position, Janowicz posted a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Nicole Lipp in 63 minutes and Florida took a 3-0 lead. The Gator junior held serve throughout the entire match en route to winning her 14th consecutive singles contest and netting her team-leading 35th singles win of the year, while improving to 20-2 in dual matches this season.

Oyen appeared to be on pace to provide the clinching singles victory, as she was serving with leads of 4-1 and 5-2 in the second set against Ester Goldfeld on court two after winning the first set, 6-1. However, Goldfeld continued to battle and never allowed Oyen to hold a match point.

Meanwhile, Morgan played efficient tennis in the second set of her match against Annie Mulholland on court four, where the Gator rookie opened with a break and never allowed a game to reach duce as she closed with a bagel for the 6-3, 6-0 decision to clinch the dual match and help send Florida to the NCAA quarterfinals for the 27th time in the 32-year history of the event. The win was Morgan's 12th straight, as she has won all of her three singles matches in NCAA play.

The first set was a bit different, as Morgan found herself down a break and 3-2. But the freshman regrouped by breaking in the sixth game and fending off a break point to hold in the seventh game and got the frame back on serve. Morgan then capitalized on her second break point in a three-duce game for the 5-2 lead and lost just one point on her serve to close out the first set.

"It felt great," shared Morgan of clinching the team victory. "I had a not-so-easy start at the beginning, and it felt great to be able to come back from that. I was missing a lot of shots that I'd normally make and was getting a little frustrated, but Dave (Balogh) helped me and told me to calm down, and after that I was loose and able to clinch."

On the doubles court, Embree and Oyen jumped out to a 5-0 lead after Embree held at love in her service game. The Blue Devil pair finally held in the sixth game, but Embree lost just one point on her next serve and Florida assumed a 6-1 lead en route to the dominate 8-1 victory that secured the doubles point. For Embree, the victory improved her all-time NCAA doubles dual match record to 18-2, while Oyen moved to 14-1 in postseason team doubles contests and notched the 80th overall doubles win of her career.

"I thought we played well," Thornqvist said. "Our one doubles was excellent. I think maybe we lost a little bit of focus at the end of the dual match when it was time to get over the finish line. We lost focus on a couple of courts. Our freshman (Morgan) picked up the slack at the end and finished for us. Overall, I'm very pleased."

Florida (25-2) will play No. 8 California (19-5) in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT. The Bears defeated Alabama, 4-1 in their round of 16 match.

"The courts are slow, so we may have to adjust to that a little bit," Thornqvist said. "We'll have another day of practice tomorrow to get ready for Sunday."

NCAA Women's Tennis Championships

Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center

Urbana, Ill.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Team Round of 16

#1 Florida (1 seed) d. #15 Duke, 4-0

#8 California (8) d. #9 Alabama (9), 4-1

#5 Southern California (5) vs. #12 Stanford (12) - in action

#4 Georgia (4) d. #13 Clemson (13), 4-2

#3 Texas A&M (3) vs. #14 Virginia (14) - in action

#6 Miami (6) vs. #11 Northwestern (11) - 4 p.m. CT

#7 UCLA (7) vs. #10 Michigan (10) - 7 p.m. CT

#2 North Carolina (2) vs. #16 Nebraska (15) - 7 p.m. CT

UF Individual Results

Final: Florida 4, Duke 0

Doubles (order of finish: 3, 1*)

1. #11 Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (UF) d. Mary Clayton/Hanna Mar (DUKE), 8-1*

2. Alexandra Cercone/Caroline Hitmana (UF) vs. Marianna Jodoin/Annie Mulholland (DUKE), 4-4 DNF

3. Danielle Collins/Brianna Morgan (UF) d. Ester Goldfeld/Nicole Lipp (DUKE) - forfeit

Singles (order of finish: 6, 5, 4*)

1. #1 Lauren Embree (UF) vs. #29 Hanna Mar (DUKE), 6-1, 3-5 DNF

2. #17 Sofie Oyen (UF) vs. #56 Ester Goldfeld (DUKE), 6-1, 5-4 DNF

3. #51 Alexandra Cercone (UF) vs. #106 Mary Clayton (DUKE), 3-6, 3-2 DNF

4. #89 Brianna Morgan (UF) d. Annie Mulholland (DUKE), 6-3, 6-0*

5. #123 Olivia Janowicz (UF) d. Nicole Lipp (DUKE), 6-1, 6-2

6. #116 Caroline Hitimana (UF) d. - Duke forfeits

Updated Records: Florida 25-2; Duke 16-10

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