The No. 12 University of Florida men’s tennis team advanced to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championship for the third year in a row on Sunday, defeating No. 24 Harvard, 4-0, at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The University of Georgia will host the remainder of the event and the Gators will face fifth-seeded Ohio State in Athens, Ga., next Friday, May 18, at noon.
“It was a tough match because Harvard is good, Harvard is top-25 and they have a lot of confidence,” said head coach Andy Jackson. “To our credit, we showed some toughness and consistency and that can scare some people in Athens when they see us do that.”
The doubles action started off very tight on all three courts, and the two teams split the matches on courts one and three. The Crimson’s Alistair Felton and Casey MacMaster got things started with an 8-5 win on court one over Florida’s Tripper Carleton and Nassim Slilam. The Gators responded with a win at No. 3 doubles, as Michael Alford and Florent Diep beat Andy Nguyen and Denis Nguyen, 8-2.
On court two, Harvard’s duo of Jon Pearlman and Christo Schultz went up a break against UF’s Spencer Newman and Bob van Overbeek, but the Florida pair got the match back on serve at 6-6 with a break of their own. Pearlman and Schultz responded with another break to go up 7-6, but the Gators fought back and won the final three games to secure the doubles point with a 9-7 victory.
After gaining the momentum from doubles, Florida was able to control the match with a pair of early points from Diep and Slilam. Diep defeated Harvard’s Alex Steinroeder, 6-1, 6-4, on court five and shortly after Slilam closed out Schultz, 6-2, 6-3, to give UF a 3-0 lead in the match.
At No. 4 singles, Newman used a boost from the crowd to pull out the first set against Shaun Chuadhuri and then continued his solid play in the second set, winning 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the victory and UF’s trip to Athens for the next round.
Ohio State, who defeated Notre Dame 4-0 on Sunday afternoon, is 33-3 on the season and is ranked fifth in the latest ITA Rankings.
Courtesy UF Communications