ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 16 University of Florida men’s tennis team dropped a 4-3 decision on the road against seventh-ranked Georgia at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on Friday, marking UF’s first conference road loss in its four league matches away from Gainesville this spring. The Gators are now 13-7 on the season, including 6-3 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Bulldogs move to 18-3 and 9-0 in league action.
“It was a close match, but Georgia played well and deserved to win,” head coach Andy Jackson said. “We felt like we competed hard and played well enough to win. We also felt like the level of hospitality was much better than it was last year at the NCAAs, and we’re grateful for that.”
After splitting doubles courts one and three, including sophomore Billy Federhofer (North Miami, Fla.) and junior Nassim Slilam’s (Paris, France) 9-7 win over Drake Bernstein and Wil Spencer at the third position, the Gators faced a tiebreaker on court two for the doubles point. However, Georgia’s 37th-ranked pair of Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada edged the Florida duo of freshman Andrew Butz (Vero Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Bob van Overbeek (Boca Raton, Fla.), 9-8(7) to secure doubles for Georgia. Florida now holds a 14-6 record in doubles this season.
Federhofer scored the Gators’ first point with a dominating 6-1, 6-0 court five victory over Hernus Pieters to even the count at 1-1. The Bulldogs struck back with a court one win by No. 14 Spencer over UF’s 10th-ranked senior Alexandre Lacroix (Paris, France). But UF again drew even, with van Overbeek taking a court four straight-sets win against Drake Bernstein.
Freshman Spencer Newman (Miami, Fla.) battled back from a set down on court six to force a decisive third set, but Taboada came out ahead to put Georgia up, 3-2.
Yet Florida again fought back to tie the match, with No. 84 Slilam scoring a 7-6(3), 6-3 court three win over the 54th-ranked Taboada to reach 3-3.
That left only the court two battle, where Florida’s 43rd-ranked sophomore Sekou Bangoura Jr. (Bradenton, Fla.) also bounced back from a set down to force a third set against No. 29 Javier Garrapiz. But the Georgia senior broke Bangoura’s serve at 2-2 in the third and used that edge to build a 5-3 lead before breaking again for the match, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, to seal the 4-3 win for the Bulldogs.
The Gators continue their tough road weekend with a 1 p.m. meeting at No. 4 Tennessee on Sunday.
#16 Florida vs. #7 Georgia
Dan Magill Tennis Complex
April 8, 2011
1 – #11 Garrapiz/Pieters (UGA) def. #53 Bangoura/Lacroix (UF) 8-5
2 – *#37 Doumbia/Taboada (UGA) def. Butz/van Overbeek (UF) 9-8(7)
3 – #80 Federhofer/Slilam (UF) def. Bernstein/Spencer (UGA) 9-7
Order of Finish: 1-3-2
1 – #14 Wil Spencer (UGA) def. #10 Alexandre Lacroix (UF) 6-4, 6-3
2 – *#29 Javier Garrapiz (UGA) def. #43 Sekou Bangoura Jr. (UF) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
3 – #84 Nassim Slilam (UF) def. #54 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) 7-6(3), 6-3
4 – Bob van Overbeek (UF) def. Drake Bernstein (UGA) 6-3, 6-3
5 – Billy Federhofer (UF) def. Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-1, 6-0
6 – Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
Order of Finish: 5-1-4-6-3-2