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Sunday, June 23, 2024

In its final home match of the regular season, the No. 10 UF men's tennis team put on a clinic in its 7-0 sweep of Arkansas on Sunday.

No. 27 Carlos Cueto closed the show on Court 1 by defeating No. 13 Blake Strode 6-4, 6-3. Cueto's match-point winner sealed the 15th consecutive set won by the Gators (14-6, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) on the day.

"That was something I tried to do - just win on my court," Cueto said. "I just realized when I finished and looked up and all the scores were (in UF's favor)."

UF coach Andy Jackson said Cueto responded well to his loss to LSU's Michael Venus on Friday.

"On Friday, Venus, who's obviously a top-5 guy - Carlos had beaten him before - I don't think Carlos played a very good match," Jackson said. "The guy today probably isn't quite as good (as Venus), but he's pretty close, and Carlos played much better."

Cueto admitted losing to other teams' highest-seeded singles players takes its toll on his confidence, but said he was able make adjustments and learn from past mistakes.

The enthusiastic Linder Stadium faithful watched Cueto finish 30 minutes after Johnny Hamui clinched the match. Joey Burkhardt said it was a good crowd and appreciated the turnout.

With the final three games of the season being played against SEC rivals Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina - all on the road - the victory was as important to the team as it was to its fans.

"Arkansas beat a top-20 team on the road Friday 6-1, so it was a nice win for us," Jackson said. "We're improving and getting healthy, and we're really excited for the rest of the season."

Burkhardt and Cueto are also looking forward, but they're not looking past the tough trip.

"I believe in our team," Burkhardt said. "Just as long as we go out there and fight like we all know we can, we'll come out OK."

WOMEN FALL TO ARKANSAS: After losing a 4-3 heartbreaker against LSU on Friday, the No. 16 UF women's tennis team were held pointless by No. 15 Arkansas.

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The Gators (10-8, 4-4 SEC) lost the doubles point by dropping matches on courts 2 and 3. Jessica Alexander and Anastasia Revzina were trailing 5-4 but did not finish after the Razorbacks clinched the point.

Alexander and Brooke Allen were both defeated in singles before No. 8 Marrit Boonstra was beaten by No. 5 Aurelija Miseviciute 6-2, 6-4 to end the match.

Revzina, Jo Mather and Barbara Pinterova did not finish their matches. Mather and Pinterova were each ahead when Arkansas claimed the dual match 4-0.

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