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Friday, April 23, 2021
Team captain Sam Riffice and the rest of the Gators marked March 7 at the start of the season. Photo from UF-Auburn match Feb. 21.
Team captain Sam Riffice and the rest of the Gators marked March 7 at the start of the season. Photo from UF-Auburn match Feb. 21.

The bleachers cleared, concessions closed and the front gate locked.

The atmosphere in Linder Stadium is silent after the Gators’ intense home stance against the Georgia Bulldogs. The seats will fill once again Sunday as spectators watch another dog fight — this time against the Tennessee Volunteers.

Men’s: No. 10 Florida (9-1) hosts No. 3 Tennessee (15-1)

After Friday’s performances, the Gators remain perfect with a home court advantage. The Volunteers, however, boast a perfect 3-0 record on the road.

Saturday became a day of rest for the Gators after they slaughtered the No. 14 Georgia Bulldogs 7-0. The team  overwhelmed the Bulldogs in singles and doubles and made them grind out to the last gasp of a 7-5, 7-5 tiebreaker win for senior Andy Andrade

SEC Newcomer of the Week Blaise Bicknell will keep his foot on the pedal as he tries to preserve his perfect solo record. He made easy work of Georgia's Billy Rowe and didn’t give up a point until the second set.

Tennessee graduate student Luca Wiedenmann clings to a perfect 13-0 singles record and rides t a career-long 23 dual win streak. Wiedenmann currently holds the Volunteers’ 10th spot in all-time wins with 103 solo triumphs.

Team captain Sam Riffice and the rest of the Gators marked March 7 at the start of the season.

“Tennessee is a big rival,” Riffice said. “This is, I think, the match we all look forward to the most each year especially when you get them in the Swamp.”

The competition will begin at noon at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. The match and stats will stream on FloridaGators.com.

Women’s: No. 27 Florida (5-5) visits No. 21 Tennessee (8-4)

The team bus drives from Athens, Georgia, and into Knoxville, Tennessee for a shot of redemption after a Friday night loss to No. 3 Georgia. 

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The Gators, once again, find themselves at a .500 win percentage with  a downward trajectory. A loss tomorrow will start the season’s third losing skid and stain the No. 27 beside Florida’s name.

The Volunteers flaunt three players on the nationwide top-200 list No. 52 Rebeka Mertena, who ranks highest on the list, struggled finding a win as of late. 

Mertena’s previous bouts against opponents from Ole Miss and No. 35 South Carolina went unfinished or ended in a loss. Her last victory came over Alexandra Mikhailuk from Mississippi State after two sets( 6-2, 6-3).

No. 85 Johanna Silva rounds out the list. The fifth-year senior kept the heat with a two-match win streak unlike No. 118 Carly Briggs, who seems lost after giving up four straight games. Both athletes will battle for a Volunteer win on the court. 

Doubles action starts off from Barksville Stadium at noon. The match will live stream on FloridaGators.com.

Contact Jesse Richardson at jrichardson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352

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