For an hour-and-a-half, Johannes Ingildsen and Rithvik Bollipalli were pitted in a grudge match. Sweat stained the court as it dripped off their foreheads.
Bollipalli was bright, loud and energetic, but Ingildsen kept his composure and pounced on mistakes. Bollipalli ultimately smacked the ball out of play, clinching the win for Ingildsen after fighting through three tiebreakers. It’s Ingildsen’s 100th win at Florida. He’s now No. 8 all-time for wins in program history, tied with Elliot Orkin (2014-17).
“I work so hard here at this university and just to see that I’m up there with some of the best Gator greats in the men’s tennis program, it means a lot,” Ingildsen said.
The Gators reverberated Ingildsen’s energy Sunday, finishing 6-1 against USF at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. It’s the 54th meeting between the two programs, and Florida closed their weekend 2-0.
The doubles started off the day as captains Sam Riffice and Duarte Vale faced off against the No. 21 couple of Jakub Wojcik and Rithvik Bollipalli on the center court. The duo came into the match up at No. 45. Riffice seemed calm, even while being down, and hit an impressive shot that just nicked the backline to give the Gators a fighting chance.
The four players went back and forth for half an hour, even during a 2-2 stalemate. However, the top-ranked USF couple lived up to their standards. They went on a four set run to defeat Riffice and Vale 6-2.
The most vocal on the court for the day was USF’s Bollipalli. Loudly expressing pleasure with not only his own scores, but also his teammates, Bollipalli, his coaches and fellow Bulls couldn’t help but feed off his excitement. They started their own chants as the final doubles match between UF’s Ben Shelton and Johannes Ingildsen and the No. 38 team of Chase Ferguson and Pierre Luquet. The enthusiasm helped the USF combo to a 5-4 win.
Coach Bryan Shelton believes the team has to ‘keep working,” that there's still room for improvement despite the big win. “We’ve got to really focus a little bit harder to be prepared for some really tough matches.”
The Gators will travel to Austin, Texas, for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, where they’ll play Oklahoma State Jan. 22. They will also await to play either Texas or Arizona in the following round. The matches will stream at
Contact Jesse Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @JesseRich352