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Sunday, May 29, 2022
<p>Senior Chase Perez-Blanco and his partner freshman Oliver Crawford are on a nine-match win streak in doubles play.</p>

Senior Chase Perez-Blanco and his partner freshman Oliver Crawford are on a nine-match win streak in doubles play.

The Florida men’s tennis team returns to conference play for its second match in three days.

The No. 12 Gators will meet No. 21 Kentucky in Gainesville at the Ring Tennis Complex on Friday at 5 p.m.

UF was marred by inconsistent singles play in its contest against TCU on Wednesday. Florida’s players struggled in do-or-die scenarios, losing three out of five singles matches that went to a third set.

The lone singles match to not go to a third set was on Court 6. Senior Chase Perez-Blanco stood out as he won in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.

The Gators will face a strong Kentucky team (10-4, 3-0 SEC) that comes into Friday’s matchup on a three-match winning streak.

The Wildcats are led by No. 49 Ryotaro Matsumura. Matsumura has won five consecutive singles matches, including a match-clinching point on March 11 against Ole Miss. Matsumura also has four wins against ranked opponents this season.

However, before a tough singles contest, Florida will have to deal with Kentucky’s aggressive doubles play.

The Wildcats have won the doubles point in three straight matches and are led by the No. 63-ranked duo of senior Trey Yates and junior Enzo Wallart.

UF won four consecutive doubles points before Wednesday’s match, but fell behind early due to TCU’s aggressive play. This resulted in the Gators falling behind on all three courts.

TCU took the advantage with a 6-2 win on Court 2 and clinched the point on Court 3 with a 7-5 victory over Perez-Blanco and freshman Oliver Crawford.

Florida will look to come out stronger against an energetic Kentucky team that has won seven of eight doubles matches in conference play.

Junior McClain Kessler, the captain of the team, remains optimistic and knows Florida will use Wednesday’s loss as a lesson for future opportunities.

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"This match will help us for all of our SEC matches and throughout NCAAs,” Kessler said in a release. “I think that the next time we are in this situation against a top team, we will be ready." 

Follow Dylan Rudolph on Twitter @dyrudolph and contact him at drudolph@alligator.org.

Senior Chase Perez-Blanco and his partner freshman Oliver Crawford are on a nine-match win streak in doubles play.

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