A battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2. A Final Four rematch. A non-conference reigning national champion coming to Gainesville in January.
That is what we have this afternoon when the No. 2-ranked and defending national champion Texas Longhorns come to the Ring Tennis Complex to take on the No. 1 Gators. The match kicks off at 5 p.m. and is one of the biggest regular-season matches in recent program history.
The separation between UF and UT is incredibly slim. In the Oracle/ITA Preseason Rankings, UF received five first-place votes, while UT received four.
Both teams are coming in with momentum. Florida had a dominant opening weekend, besting Furman 6-1 and FAU 7-0 while going 11-1 in singles and 4-0 in doubles. For Texas, this is its first dual match of the season, but it is coming off a commanding performance in the Miami Invitational this past weekend, winning at least nine matches each of the three days.
Revenge will also be on the mind of the Gators. In 2019, Florida had one of the best seasons in school history and made the Final Four for the first time since 2005 and for only the third time ever. However, its season ended in Orlando at the hands of the Longhorns 4-2 on May 18.
UF’s returning talent and depth is why the Gators began the season No. 1. However, Texas is still a strong team, led by No. 2 Yuya Ito, who won the ITA National Fall Championships and ITA All-American Championships in singles this past fall. In the latter, he defeated Gator sophomore Sam Riffice in straight sets.
Florida will look to defeat a reigning national champion for the second year in a row at the Ring. It beat Wake Forest 5-2 in March.
Follow Noah on Twitter @Noah_ram1 and contact him at email@example.com.
Noah is a third year journalism-sports and media student from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has been with The Alligator since Spring 2019 and has covered men’s and women’s tennis, gymnastics and volleyball. When he isn’t on his beat, Noah is usually sadden over his beloved South Florida sports teams, such as the Heat and Dolphins.