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Florida women’s tennis defended its home court against Ole Miss

The Florida women’s tennis program closed out its seventh straight win on Sunday with a narrow 4-3 win over the visiting Ole Miss Rebels at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville.

The No. 14-ranked Gators needed all it could get to overcome their visitors.  The opening win came from doubles pair Rachel Gailis and Bente Spee, who defeated Kelsey Mize and Lucie Devier in a 6-1 effort.

But the Rebs were quick to respond, with Anaelle Leclercq and Ludmila Kareisova posting a 6-3 win over Carly Briggs and Qavia Lopez to knot things up. Malwina Rowinska and Alicia Dudeney clinched the doubles point for the Gators after an epic battle with Ava Hrastar and Briana Crowley that came down to a tiebreaker with the Orange and Blue coming out on top with a 7-6.

With Florida up 1-0 heading into singles action, Ole Miss did not let up.

No. 15 Rachel Gailis secured the first point to extend the Gators’ lead 2-0 with a win over Kareisova but Crowley defeated Florida’s No. 109-ranked Lopez, making it a 2-1 affair. The Rebels then tied the match at 2-2 with Rachel Krzyzak defeating Sophie Williams in straight sets.

No. 84-ranked Briggs gave UF the edge with her three-set win over Ava Hrastar but Ole Miss caught up with Florida once again with Emma Kette defeating Rowinska in a three-set battle, setting a 3-3 score going into crunch time.

Dudeney secured the victory after a back-and-forth battle with Leclercq,  dropping the first set, 7-5, but storming back to post a 7-5 win to force a third set. Dudeney left no room for doubt as she shut out Leclercq 6-0 to snag the fourth and final point.

“I honestly thought we played subpar today but we competed well, and obviously Liss was clinical at the end,” head coach Roland Thornqvist offered after the match. “The quality of our play probably wasn’t great and part of that was Ole Miss made it difficult for us with some playing styles that they had that we didn’t adjust to. I told them in the locker room that this is a match we would have lost in February, but we are now finding ways to win instead.”

The Gators will travel to face the No. 27 Vanderbilt Commodores on Friday at the Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center. The ‘Dores moved to a 6-3 conference record after posting a 4-0 win on Sunday against Missouri.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire