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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

With injuries and inconsistency threatening to limit the number of UF entrants into the ITA All-American Tennis Championships to just one, junior Johnny Hamui is trying to make that two.

Hamui prevailed in a 6-4, 6-4 upset victory over No. 55 Slah Mbarek of TCU in qualifying on Monday. If Hamui can follow this up with two more victories, he will have earned himself a spot in the main draw alongside teammate Alex Lacroix.

"Johnny practiced a whole lot this summer but hasn't played a lot of matches. The first couple of events were OK, but [Monday] was a very good win," coach Andy Jackson said.

Carlos Cueto, the nation's No. 11 player, likely would have earned a spot in the main draw if he was not still recovering from lingering tendonitis. Also dealing with injury is No. 105 Joey Burkhardt, who in all likelihood would have had a shot at making the tournament through the qualifying draw if not for the broken foot he sustained during the summer.

"Both of them are back on the practice court and looking good," Jackson said.

The only player aside from Hamui who participated in the qualifying draw was senior Antoine Benneteau, who lost 6-3, 6-4 to Texas A&M's Alexey Grigorov. This loss drops Benneteau to 1-3 on the season.

This lack of production may partly be attributed to an offseason hernia surgery that kept him off the court for an extended period.

"It's only a matter of time until he is back into form," Jackson said.

Hamui will be returning to action this afternoon against Marcel Thiemann of Ole Miss.

"Johnny has some rhythm now after winning doubles at FSU and winning today, and should continue to improve his game," Jackson said.

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