UF’s Lauren Embree Wins Riviera/ITA All-American Singles Championship
Calif. – University of Florida senior Lauren Embree (Marco Island,
Fla.) won the first national singles title of her illustrious career by
gutting out a classic three-setter in the final of the Riviera/ITA
All-American Championships at the Riviera Tennis on Sunday afternoon.
Embree halted the run of the Virginia Julia Elbaba, who is the nation’s
fourth-ranked freshman, by rallying for the 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, victory and
capturing the first Grand Slam title of the career.
“It feels great and special to win this my senior year,” Embree shared.
“I think I played a little nervous in the first set and (Elbaba) was
just teeing off on my shots. Then I started being more aggressive and
just kept fighting and hanging in there. She’s a great player and a
The Cavalier rookie jumped out and took the first set to put the pressure on Embree.
“In the first set I didn’t play as aggressive as I should have and she took control,” Embree shared.
The Gator All-American then won the first three games of the second set
en route to winning the second set and forcing a deciding third.
Elbaba regrouped and took leads of 2-0 and was serving up 4-2 in the
final set, before Embree staged another of her classic comebacks by
winning the next four games and earning the championship.
“The third set was up and down and got really close towards the end,”
Embree said. “I kept fighting and tried to play aggressive on the big
Embree becomes the 20th different Gator to win a collegiate Grand Slam
title, as well as the 10th to claim one on the singles court.
Embree is the fourth different Gator to win the Riviera/ITA
All-American Singles Championship, joining Jill Craybas (1995), Jessica
Lehnhoff (2001) and Allie Will (2011).
“Today was vintage Lauren Embree – again,” UF associate head coach Dave
Balogh said. “Julia came out hitting the ball as hard as she could and
everything was going in. But once again, Lauren refused to go away. She
just hung in there, competed, fought and scraped. Great players come up
big in the clutch moments and Lauren did that this afternoon. I
couldn’t be more proud of the way she played and represented the Gator
Embree has been the ultimate team competitor during her accomplished
career, seemingly saving her best for dual matches, as she has provided
the NCAA Team Championship point each of the last two years and was
named the NCAA Championships Most Valuable Player both times. Prior to
the 2012 Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, Embree’s previous best
showing at a Grand Slam singles event was in May of 2011 when she
reached the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championships and was forced
to retire because of injury after she and Stanford’s Stacey Tan split
Before taking the court for her singles bout, Embree paired with Gator
freshman Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) in the final of the
consolation doubles draw and fell short to Pepperdine’s seventh-ranked
Lorraine Guillermo and Khunpak Issara, 8-3.
The next tournament the Gators are scheduled to play is Oct. 19-22 at the ITA Southeast Regional in Tampa, Fla.
2012 Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships
Riviera Tennis Club
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Sunday, October 07, 2012
UF Results Only
#6 Lauren Embree (3), Florida d. Julia Elbaba, Virginia, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
Doubles, Consolation Final
#7 Lorraine Guillermo/Khunpak Issara, Pepperdine d. #15 Danielle Collins/Lauren Embree, Florida, 8-3