Florida’s Andy Andrade was on the verge of clinching match point for Florida after winning a nail-biting tiebreaker.
He was up 5-1 in the second set against USF’s Antonio Muniz. It was Muniz’s turn to serve. He threw the ball up in the air, jumped and swung his racket to put the ball in play.
Andrade handled Muniz’s serve without issue. The ball bounced to Muniz, and he hit the ball back to Andrade’s half.
Muniz’s shot was long, and Andrade’s teammates swarmed him to celebrate.
His win on Court 4 sealed the 4-0 win over the USF Bulls and cemented UF’s fourth-straight trip to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championship in Madison, Wisconsin.
Before Sunday’s win, No. 2 Florida (6-1) went against Temple (0-2).
Florida continued its success in doubles to start the match. It made quick work of the Owls, taking wins on Courts 1 and 2.
Johannes Ingildsen and Will Grant blanked Temple’s Paolo Cucalo and Louis Gorregues on Court 2, 6-0. Then the No. 14 duo of Oliver Crawford, a junior, and sophomore Sam Riffice stayed flawless on the season by winning over Juan Araoz and Enzo Brida on Court 1.
In singles play, coach Bryan Shelton made the decision to sit one of his best players, Crawford (2-1), who is ranked No. 31 by the ITA in singles.
However, in the second set, three Gators fell behind. But it didn’t matter because Ingildsen, No. 71 Lukas Greif and junior Josh Goodger finished their matches in straight sets to seal UF’s place in the championship match (4-0).
The coaches of both teams decided to leave other matches unfinished because of the contested matches to be played Sunday.
On championship Sunday, the doubles point would not come as easily to the Gators.
The team got off to a rough start and fell behind early.
Crawford and Riffice on Court 1 and Duarte Vale and Goodger on Court 3 found themselves in a 2-1 deficit early.
But both duos would storm back and win the match to give UF the doubles point (6-4, 6-3).
Shelton said he was pleased with the way his doubles duos fought back after falling behind early.
“I think today was certainly a tough test because I thought South Florida came out and played great doubles,” he said. “We have put a lot of time into the doubles. I think it started back in the beginning of the fall season.”
During the fall season, Shelton said he made doubles a priority and credited the team for buying in.
No. 4 Riffice would win over Jakub Wojcik on Court 2, 6-0, 6-3 to put UF up 2-0 overall.
On Court 3, No. 17 junior Vale defeated Pierre Luquet 6-2, 6-1.
Andrade finished off the Bulls when he beat Muniz 7-6, 6-1.
Next weekend, Florida will return to action on Saturday to take on FSU in Lake Nona, Florida, at 5 p.m.
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Editor's note: this article was edited to reflect that Crawford and Riffice are the No. 14-ranked duo. Riffice is No. 4 in singles.