Going into Saturday’s match against Furman, Florida men’s tennis player Chase Perez-Blanco was coming off his worst performance of the 2016 season.
In the Gators’ previous match against the University of Southern California on Jan. 30, the sophomore from Miami struggled to find any rhythm on the court, losing his singles match 6-3, 6-1 and falling in his doubles match 6-2.
However, Perez-Blanco responded on Saturday with not only his strongest performance on the season, but arguably the strongest performance by any Gator this year, dominating the entire match in both singles and doubles play.
"I tried to put the USC match behind me," Perez-Blanco said. "It wasn’t my best performance, but it happens. And to come back and play the way I did (against Furman) is satisfying."
After playing his first four doubles matches of the season with redshirt sophomore Joshua Wardell, Perez-Blanco was tabbed with a new partner last Saturday: freshman Alfredo Perez.
Facing Furman’s Stefan Rhodes and Alex Steryous, the first-time duo did not disappoint for UF, handily winning the match 6-0.
Perez-Blanco then went up against Cameron Green in singles play. The Gulliver Prep product fell behind 2-0 to Green early in the first set of the match, only to win the next 12-consecutive games and clinch the victory for the Gators.
"I felt like I played really well," Perez-Blanco said. "I got off to kind of a slow start, but after I went down 2-0, I started moving my feet and started getting more intense and more into the match. I was able to stay focused from that point on to completion, and I played really well I thought."
The sophomore has played in 11 combined singles and doubles matches this season, which is good for the second most on the team behind junior co-captain Elliott Orkin.
Perez-Blanco has a 4-1 record in singles play and a 2-1 record in doubles play this year, with three other matches ending without a victor. The Gators are undefeated this year when Perez-Blanco wins his doubles match and are also 3-1 when Perez-Blanco wins his singles match.
For Perez-Blanco, his performance in doubles competition is a key focus as the season continues to progress.
"I’m more of a baseliner. I feel comfortable back there," Perez-Blanco said. "But if I can feel comfortable (at the net) and keep working on that stuff, I think it will help not only me but the team as well in the future."
Perez-Blanco will look to have another strong performance this weekend when the Gators face the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus on Sunday at noon.
Chase Perez-Blanco had an emotion-filled evening as he was one of three seniors honored at Florida's Senior Day match against Alabama. He won his singles set and helped set the tone for a sweep of the Crimson Tide on Friday.