Florida Gators men’s tennis team advances to Sweet 16

Report on the Florida Gators men’s tennis team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 9 University of Florida men’s tennis team swept the No. 17 University of South Florida Bulls on Sunday afternoon in the NCAA Second Round at the Ring Tennis Complex. Florida advances to the NCAA Round of 16 at the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships held in Tulsa, Okla.

The Gators took an early lead by clinching the doubles point in a back-and-forth effort. The No. 1-ranked tandem of Diego Hidalgo and Gordon Watson completed their careers at the Ring Tennis Complex with a 6-4 win over No. 28-ranked Gozun and Kalyuzhnyy. The Bulls would win court two to push the deciding match to court three. Alfredo Perez and Chase Perez-Blanco came back from down 5-4 to take the doubles point with a 7-5 win.

In singles action, senior Watson was first off the court with a 6-2, 6-4 win on court five over Ignacio Gonzalez Muniz. Perez was next off the court with a win over Sasha Gozun, 7-5, 6-1. Freshman McClain Kessler would clinch the match for the Florida Gators with him 6-3, 7-5 victory over Vadym Kalyuzhnyy on court six.

Up next, the Gators will play the winner of Texas Tech and SMU on Friday in Tulsa, Okla. in the NCAA Round of 16. The match will be the first time Florida has played in the Round of 16 since 2014.

Head Coach Bryan Shelton 
On the match win this afternoon and the Gators advancing to Tulsa… 
“I saw a confident group. First off, I would just like to say that South Florida came out and played some really good tennis and had a great season. It was a tough draw to face them in the second round. We knew that it was going to be a tough test. Our guys just came in with a lot of confidence. I think throughout these past five or six weeks we have gathered some momentum. It is definitely showing in our doubles play. Our guys are having fun playing and if we get down a little bit, our guys don’t flinch. We just keep playing. I think that is the belief and the trust between these guys and in one another.

Our seniors at one are just leading the way in doubles and in singles as well. I think Diego and Gordon are playing about as well as you can in your senior campaign. That is really special. Our freshman core, McClain and Alfredo, they just keep producing for us. They compete and they work and they do all the little things out there that give us a change to be successful. Elliott and Chase, as well, were just out there battling today. So, it was a team win and victory.

I am really proud of our guys and really happy for all those that have been supporting us all year and our support staff. I am fortunate to be working with great coaches in Scott Perelman and Mark Merklein, just really thankful for the opportunity and to be able to move on.”
Final Results 
#9 Florida 4, #17 USF 0 
Doubles-Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3*

  1. #1 Hidalgo/Watson (UF) def. #28 Gozun/Kalyuzhnyy (USF) 6-4
  2. Bertran/Cotrone (USF) def. #80 Lipman/Orkin (UF) 6-4
  3. Perez/Perez-Blanco (UF) def. Cid/Muniz (USF) 7-5

Singles-Order of Finish: 5, 2, 6*

  1. #10 Diego Hidalgo (UF) vs. #2 Roberto Cid (USF) 6-4, 3-3, susp.
  2. #53 Alfredo Perez (UF) def. Sasha Gozun (USF) 7-5, 6-1
  3. #37 Elliott Orkin (UF) vs. #47 Dominic Controne (USF) 4-6, 4-5, susp.
  4. #120 Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) vs. Peter Bertran (USF) 4-6, 5-5,susp.
  5. Gordon Watson (UF) def. Ignacio Gonzalez Muniz (USF) 6-2, 6-4
  6. McClain Kessler (UF) def. Vadym Kalyuzhnyy (USF) 6-3, 7-5

Records: Florida (20-6) | USF (21-9)

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.