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Monday, October 02, 2023
<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 No. 1 Florida men’s tennis team’s season-opening trip to Texas began off with a heartbreaking, 4-3 loss against No. 5 TCU Friday evening.

TCU secured two of three doubles matches to claim a one-point advantage despite a shutout performance by No. 51 doubles pair Mattias Siimar and Andy Andrade. Senior Duarte Vale and freshman Abedallah Shelbayh lost their match by a score of 6-3 before the tandem of Sam Riffice and Ben Shelton came up just short in their match, 6-4.

TCU continued its hot start with wins on courts one and two as the teams began singles play — Riffice and Shelton each fell in straight sets. The Gators were down 3-0 with no room left for error. 

Andrade ignited Florida’s fightback by overcoming TCU’s Tomas Jirousek in three sets, having to clinch it in a 7-3 tiebreaker. Vale clinched a court three victory over TCU’s Sander Long in three sets and Florida completed the comeback with Siimar’s two-set win on court 5.

With the score tied at 3-3, the matchup between Florida’s No. 111 Josh Goodger and TCU’s No. 76 Jake Fearnley. Goodger dropped a highly-contested first set in a tiebreaker before losing the second set, 4-6. With the final singles point, TCU was able to barely edge Florida with a 4-3 win.

Florida’s defeat Friday marked the first season-opening loss in program history,  a disappointing start to a season in which Florida is favored to repeat as national champions.  

Coach Bryan Shelton has embraced UF’s challenging schedule and expects this slew of nationally-ranked opponents to prepare his team for the rigors of SEC play  

The Gators won’t have too much time to reflect as they complete their road-trip with an even stiffer test against the No. 3 Texas Longhorns.. Florida will look to bounce back and notch their first win of the season in Austin on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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