ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida State pair of senior Daneika Borthwick and redshirt freshman Emily Fanning won their third consecutive doubles match on Saturday to reach the A Draw finals at the USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational presented by VISIT FLORIDA.
The weather conditions at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex played a huge factor in Friday’s event. Temperatures dropped and strong swirling winds picked up loose clay from the courts. The weather was an equalizer and forced the players to adjust their games.
“The conditions today were extremely tricky,” head coach Jennifer Hyde said. “Balls were flying everywhere and it took a lot of extra patience to play today from everyone that was out here.”
Borthwick and Fanning were able to continue their success in doubles despite the conditions as they defeated Lon Sze Leung and Brooke Riscmbieth of Northwestern in the A Draw semifinals in dominating fashion 6-2, 6-2.
“Daneika and Emily have done a good job,” Hyde said. “If they ever started on their back foot, they quickly made some adjustments. They ended up playing very aggressively. As the tournament has progressed they are starting quicker and quicker which is good. We have to start out on our front foot. We have to start out playing aggressively. They did that again today and used the wind to their advantage. They played very crafty and fundamentally sound doubles today.”
The Seminole duo have won each of their matches in this tournament en route to advancing to the finals against the No. 1 seed from Auburn Michala Kucharova and Reka Muller on Sunday at 10 a.m.
“Those two [Borthwick and Fanning] are unbelievably mature playing together,” Hyde said. “I think they are a really lovely compliment to each other’s games.”
In Fanning’s lone singles match of the day, she fell to Sinead Lohan from Miami in an extremely close three-set fight in the semifinals of the B Draw, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4. The Timaru, New Zealand native came out strong taking the first set, but was unable to get the points she needed to knock off the talented Lohan.
“Emily’s match today was really solid,” Hyde said. “Her match really came down to two or three loose games. The progress that Emily has made since the beginning of the semester is tremendous. She is definitely getting her feet under her. She is starting to hit a really comfortable stride. I think the work that she puts in the next two months will be crucial on how she gets ready for spring. I couldn’t be more proud of her and how she represented Florida State out there on the court today.”
Gabriella Castaneda was also in action on Saturday. The Florida State freshman got off to a nice start, but just couldn’t seem to get into a groove. Despite her struggles, her effort was there throughout the battle with Illinois’ Alexis Casati and showed she is going to be a force when the spring season begins. Casati defeated Castaneda in a three-set tiebreak 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (9).
Florida State’s Borthwick and Fanning will look to claim the Draw A championship on Sunday to close out the fall season.
“When you play a tournament, you play to win it,” Hyde said.
For more information on Florida State women’s tennis, follow the Seminoles on Twitter @FSU_WTennis and like their official Facebook page.
Doubles A Draw:
Borthwick/Fanning (FSU) def. Leung/Riscmbieth (NW) 6-2, 6-2
Singles B Draw:
Wendy Zhang (UM) def. Yukako Noi (FSU) 6-2, 6-3
Sinead Lohan (UM) def. Emily Fanning (FSU) 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-4
Singles A Draw Consolation:
Alexis Casati (UI) def. Gabriella Castaneda (FSU) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0(9)