The 11th-ranked Florida men’s tennis team picked up a key Southeastern Conference victory on Friday evening, beating No. 15 Auburn, 7-0, in Gainesville at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The Gators improved to 11-7 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
“I’ve got to give credit to Auburn because today’s match was definitely closer than the final score indicates,” said head coach Andy Jackson. “We’re getting a little bit better and that’s good. We’re looking forward to playing again on Sunday against Alabama.”
Florida started off with an 8-4 win at No. 2 doubles, as Bob van Overbeek and Spencer Newman beat Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso. Auburn (14-6, 3-4 SEC) then picked up an 8-6 win on court three when Dan Cochrane and Lukas Ollert took down UF’s Tripper Carleton and Andrew Butz.
At No. 1 doubles, the Gators’ Billy Federhofer and Nassim Slilam pulled out a tight match, 9-7, against Auburn’s Alex Stamchev and Andy Mies. With both duos holding serve for the majority of the match, the Gators went up 8-7 when Federhofer hit a forehand winner up the line to break the Tigers’ serve. Federhofer then held serve in the final game to clinch the doubles point for UF.
“Billy was our man of the match today,” said Coach Jackson. “The way that he handled himself on the court and pulled through to clinch the doubles point was really big for us today to give us the momentum going into singles.”
Newman took down Ollert, 6-0, 6-2, on court two to begin singles action and push Florida’s lead to 2-0 in the match. At No. 2 singles, Slilam breezed through the first set, 6-1, before falling behind against Stamchev early in the second set, trailing 3-0. After taking an injury timeout, Slilam battled back to win the match, 6-1, 6-3.
Minutes later on court three, Carleton secured the team victory with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Cochrane. It was Carleton’s 11th dual-match win of the season, including a 5-2 mark in SEC action, tied for the most league wins on the team with Slilam.
At the top singles position, No. 41 van Overbeek defeated No. 27 Mies, 7-5, 6-4. The final two matches on courts five and six went back-and-forth the entire evening, both lasting longer than two hours. Michael Alford beat Lopasso, 7-6 (10), 6-2, at No. 5 singles, while Butz defeated Michael Wardell in three sets, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5, on court six.
“We’re making some progress,” said Coach Jackson. “We’ve made progress through some losses and we’re making progress through some wins. We want to get ready for the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. We’ve got a good team and we’re getting better.”
Courtesy UF Communications