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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

UF men's tennis looking to remain undefeated at home against Virginia

<p>Alfredo Perez returns a ball during Florida's 6-1 win over Troy on Jan. 17, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex.</p>

Alfredo Perez returns a ball during Florida's 6-1 win over Troy on Jan. 17, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex.

The Florida men’s tennis team hasn’t gone undefeated at home in over a decade, with its 11-0 record in 2003 marking the last time UF attained perfection at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville.

However, as the 2016 regular season winds down, the No. 14 Gators (12-4, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) have a serious shot at ending that 13-year drought.

UF, sporting a flawless 8-0 slate at the Ring Tennis Complex this spring, has three home matches left on its schedule. Florida is set to host Kentucky on April 15 and Tennessee on April 17, but the Gators toughest remaining match in Gainesville may come tonight when they take on No. 3 Virginia at 5 p.m.

Virginia has been arguably the country’s most successful men’s tennis program over the past six seasons, winning two of the last three national championships and making it to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament every year since 2010.

The Cavaliers (17-3) have been impressive this spring, and look as if they are on their way to another deep postseason run. Virginia has won nine of its past 10 matches, outscoring opponents 59-11 over that stretch, making them one of the hottest teams in college tennis.

UVA senior Ryan Shane and junior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski are both nationally ranked in the top 10 in singles competition, and the duo of Shane and junior Luca Corinteli, as well as the pair Kwiatkowski and senior Mac Styslinger, are both nationally ranked in the top 10 in doubles competition.

While Virginia will provide UF with one of its most daunting tests on the year, if Florida competes like they have over the past few weeks, it’s hard to envision any team topping them.

The Gators are currently on a six-match winning streak, receiving consistent production the entire roster. Since March 11, all six players in UF’s singles lineup have won at least 67 percent of their matches, going a combined 29-7 over that stretch.

One player that has been particularly dominant for Florida is freshman Alfredo Perez. The Havana, Cuba native has not disappointed in his first season as a Gator, going 12-2 in singles play and 7-2 in doubles play.

Perez has played a huge role in the Gators’ current winning streak, receiving praise from his head coach along the way.

“He’s got some great stuff inside him,” coach Bryan Shelton said. “… He shows me something different every single day and smile, because he just keeps taking it to another level.”

Contact Dylan Dixon at ddixon@alligator.org and you can follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon

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Alfredo Perez returns a ball during Florida's 6-1 win over Troy on Jan. 17, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex.

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