The 17th-ranked Florida men’s tennis team opened the 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 4-0 win against Arkansas on Thursday at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.
With the win, UF improves to 15-8 this season and will make a quarterfinal appearance in the conference tournament for the 10th consecutive year, a streak that began in 2002, head coach Andy Jackson’s first season leading the Gators.
Sophomore Billy Federhofer and junior Nassim Slilam got the Gators’ doubles efforts started with a dominant 8-3 win over Mike Ward and Nikolas Zogaj on court two that last barely over half an hour. Florida sealed the doubles point when sophomore Bob van Overbeek and freshman Andrew Butz reeled off five straight games, rebounding from a 5-3 deficit to top Gregoire Lehmann and Matt Walters, 8-5.
Federhofer then gave the Gators their first singles win of the day, cruising to a 6-2, 6-0 court five victory over Ward, followed by a similarly strong court four performance by van Overbeek, who notched a 6-3, 6-1 win against Lehmann.
The clincher came from Florida’s eighth-ranked senior leader, Alexandre Lacroix, who raised his arms in victory after fighting to a straight-sets win against Chris Nott to send the Gators into the quarterfinals.