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Friday, April 12, 2024

Gators handle business at ITA Southeast Regional

The team amassed 20 total wins at the tournament

<p>Florida&#x27;s Andy Andrade returns a ball against Auburn on February 21, 2021. Andrade won his 200th career match Friday.</p>

Florida's Andy Andrade returns a ball against Auburn on February 21, 2021. Andrade won his 200th career match Friday.

The Gators men’s tennis team concluded the ITA Southeast Regional Championships on Oct. 24 and finished with 20 total victories, including a team-high seven from graduate Mattias Siimar. 

Siimar blazed through the consolation singles draw, winning all eight of his sets. He defeated Benjamin Hannestad of Miami, 6-4, 6-3, in the quarterfinals and Roberts Grinvalds of Georgia State, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals to tally his seven total wins for the tournament.

The graduate transfer found success with new teammate Andy Andrade in doubles, as well. The pair reached the main draw’s semifinals with victories over South Florida’s Chase Ferguson and Bruno Oliveira, 8-3, Central Florida’s Cooper White and Bryan Triana, 8-1, and fellow UCF duo Lleyton Cronje and Trey Hilderbrand, 8-6.

The duo eventually dropped the semifinal to Georgia Tech’s Marcus McDaniel and Andres Martin, 6-1, 3-6, 10-4. 

Siimar wasn’t the only Gators newcomer who enjoyed a successful run. Freshman Nate Bonetto boasted a 3-1 singles record and became the only Gator to advance to the quarterfinals of the main draw. Bonetto defeated two ranked opponents, No. 4 McDaniel, 7-6 (5), 7-5, and No. 11 Blake Croyder of Georgia, 7-6 (3), 6-2. The freshman’s tournament ended at the hands of Hilderband, 7-5, 7-5. 

The Yellow Jackets exacted revenge on Florida in the doubles matches. Andrade and Siimar made it to the semifinals and faced the No.1-seeded pair, McDaniel and Martin. In a seemingly lopsided matchup, the duo took McDaniel and Martin the distance. Georgia Tech blew through the first set, 6-1, but the Gators evened the affair by snatching the second set, 6-3. The Gators eventually fell in the final set, 10-4.

The last notable performance of the tournament came from senior Josh Goodger. He won his quarterfinals match against No. 23 Hamish Stewart of Georgia, 6-2, 6-4. Goodger then faced Chen Dong of Georgia Tech. The intense three-set battle resulted in Dong winning, 6-2, 4-6, 10-5. Goodger ended the tournament with three singles wins and a pair of doubles wins. 

The team now prepares for a trip to the ITA Nationals Fall championship from Nov. 4 to Nov. 7 in San Diego, California, at the Barnes Tennis Center.

Contact Brian Olmo at Follow him on Twitter at @BrianOlmo0211.

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