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Tuesday, April 13, 2021
<p>Junior Sam Riffice eyes up his return against Auburn Feb. 21.</p>

Junior Sam Riffice eyes up his return against Auburn Feb. 21.

After a match that ended a little too close for comfort Friday, the top-ranked Gators will now move on and start fresh against a new opponent: the Kentucky Wildcats.

The visiting Wildcats pack a heavier punch than what Vanderbilt brought to the table. The team, however. finds itself in a downward spiral after it dropped the last four of eight matches. In one last desperate attempt before the SEC Tournament, the Wildcats will look to pull off an upset.

Streaks on streaks

Florida rides a 13-game run and shut out the last four of five opponents in a month’s span. The teams that the Gators ran through were mostly ranked among the top 25.

All shutout victims, including No. 6 TCU, No. 15 Miss State, and No. 13 Georgia, had elite athletes that couldn’t overcome Florida.

Undefeated singles star Blaise Bicknell and Josh Goodger are both on fire, and it doesn’t seem like their flame will burn out any time soon. Bicknell hopes to build up a 14-match streak, and Goodger’s (7-0) solo season looks like it may end on a perfect note as well.

Junior Sam Riffice constructed a six-game singles streak while his doubles partner Durate Vale showed no remorse to his last eight opponents and defeated five in two-set fights.

Kentucky Momentum

The No. 22 Wildcats have high energy to follow after their first top-10 win of the season on Thursday night against South Carolina. The triumph over the Gamecocks felt much needed after the Cats dropped both of their matchups the week prior.

Five of Kentucky’s six representatives on the courts are ranked among the top-100 in the nation. No.7 Liam Draxl is the Wildcats’ alpha of the pack and recently scored a huge win over South Carolina’s No. 7 Daniel Rodrigues. The clutch two-set win was his first defeat of a top-10 foe.

No. 20 Cesar Bourgois and Gabriel Diallo, Kentucky’s lone ranked doubles team, had the Gamecocks break a two-game streak Thursday night. The duo now stands at 10-5 before the regular-season finale.

The first serve of doubles play is set for Sunday at noon. The final regular-season match will stream live on FloridaGators.com alongside stats.

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

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