Before Saturday’s match against No. 22 Notre Dame (7-2), losing the doubles point usually signaled defeat for the Florida men’s tennis team.
But after a dominant singles performance against the Fighting Irish— winning four of the six courts — the No. 11 Gators notched their first comeback win of the season with a 4-3 victory to open consolation play at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
In a repeat of Friday’s loss to Texas A&M, freshman Duarte Vale and junior McClain Kessler came up short in their efforts to break a tie in the doubles play. The duo lost 6-4 to Notre Dame’s No. 1 doubles combo of senior Brendon Kempin and freshman Tristan McCormick, and put Florida at an early deficit.
UF was 0-3 in dual matches after losing the doubles point coming into the afternoon. But against the Fighting Irish, the Gators found a way to bounce back.
Singles play opened with a one-sided 6-0, 6-2 loss for Kessler against freshman William Howells at the No. 6 position, giving Notre Dame a 2-0 lead.
Freshman Oliver Crawford then secured the Gators’ first singles victory, winning 6-4, 6-2 over sophomore Matt Gamble. Prior to the weekend, coach Bryan Shelton wanted to see Crawford take advantage of opportunities to win his opponents’ service games. Against Gamble today, Crawford broke serve three times to finish off Gamble and put Florida on the scoreboard.
At the No. 1 position, junior Alfredo Perez cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over sophomore Guillermo Cabrera. The match evened the overall score at 2-2 with three courts yet to finish.
After a loss from Vale on court No. 3, both freshman Andy Andrade and sophomore Johannes Ingildsen needed to win to advance the Gators to the next round.
Andrade rocked Notre Dame’s junior Grayson Broadus in the second set, winning the match 6-4, 6-0. Ingildsen followed with a controlling 6-4, 6-2 victory on the No. 2 court and clinched Florida’s first defeat of Notre Dame since 1995.
Moving forward, the Gators (5-3) will face No. 10 Illinois (5-3) in the semifinals of the consolation draw on Sunday at 9 a.m.