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Friday, January 27, 2023

Greif, Braswell lead Gators at ITA Southeast Regionals

Despite being hosted in enemy territory, multiple Gators showed out in their third event of the fall

<p>Lukas Greif, who is now a senior, swings at a tennis ball on the fourth day of the 2019 ITA Tournament in Gainesville. </p>

Lukas Greif, who is now a senior, swings at a tennis ball on the fourth day of the 2019 ITA Tournament in Gainesville.

Multiple members of the Gators men’s tennis team impressed on rival turf at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Regional Championships. The tournament was hosted by historic rival Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida. 

Senior Lukas Greif won five straight games to take home a victory in the consolation bracket final, and freshman Jonah Braswell made it to the semifinals of the main draw. The two also competed alongside each other in the doubles draw and outlasted Florida’s other pairs.

Greif, Braswell and four other Gators — sophomore Nate Bonetto, junior Will Grant, freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn and freshman Togan Tokac — were selected to the tournament and advanced immediately to the main draw that started Oct. 21. 

Greif saw a disappointing start to his weekend Friday when he played South Florida senior Erik Grevelius. The first set was a battle between the two players and came down to a tie breaker, seeing Grevelius on top, 7-6 (5). Despite a strong effort, Greif also lost the second set, 6-4, to be eliminated from the main draw in the first round.

This loss sent him to the consolation bracket where he first faced Florida Atlantic junior Filip Krolo Saturday. Greif took the first set, 6-3, and finished the job in the second set, 6-4, to stay alive in the consolation bracket.

His next match came against Miami freshman Nacho Serra Sanchez. It, again, took him 19 games to secure the 6-4, 6-3 victory.

After the win, he moved on to the quarterfinals Sunday to take on Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior No. 123 Magnus Johnson. Greif continued his streak of straight-sets victories, winning the match 6-3, 6-4.

In the semifinals against Miami sophomore Casper Christensen, Greif saw his first match of the tournament go to a third set. He lost the first set 4-6 and won the second 7-5. Greif clinched a victory and a spot in the finals with a 10-5 win to give him the match.

Monday he faced Miami fifth-year senior Franco Aubone. He got his fourth victory in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, to win the consolation bracket final.

Braswell once again showed he can compete at the collegiate level. In his first tournament action Friday, he took on South Florida junior Bruno Oliveira and only dropped three games to win 6-1, 6-2. 

The Gator moved on to face FAU senior Nicolas Acevedo, who put up a fight. Still, it only took Braswell two sets to win 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Saturday, he played Georgia fifth-year senior No. 73 Trent Bryde. Braswell convincingly won the first set 6-3, but he lost his first set of the tournament, 2-6, in the second. Braswell bounced back and won a dominant third set, 6-1.

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In the quarterfinals Sunday, he ran into FSU junior No. 114 Andreja Petrovic. Braswell won two hard-fought sets (6-4, 6-4) to move on in the main draw.

His journey came to a close when he played FSU junior No. 105 Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc in the semifinals. Braswell didn’t win a game in the first set, losing 6-0. Despite putting more points on the board, he was eliminated by a 6-3 loss in the second set.

Bonetto started his time in Tallahassee with a match against FSU redshirt sophomore John Bernard. Bonetto won in straight sets (6-3, 6-2) to advance to the next round.

He then played Miami graduate student Leo Bierbaum. He finished the day not dropping a set and won 6-4, 6-4.

Bonetto then faced his second seminole, FSU sophomore Youcef Rihane, Saturday. He lost a close first set 7-5 and fell short in the second set, 6-4, to be eliminated from the tournament.

Tokac had a strong outing Friday, starting with a win over FGCU’s Johnson. He took the first set, 6-3, but lost a close second set, 4-6. He won a tight third set, 7-6 (3), to move on in the tournament and get his first collegiate ranked win.

He then faced Georgia Southern sophomore Pol Del Castillo Masich and made much quicker work of his opponent. Tokac grabbed a victory in straight sets (6-3, 6-4).

Like Bonetto, Tokac saw his tournament end Saturday. He fell to Georgia fifth-year senior No. 117 Blake Croyder in straight sets (6-4, 6-4). Croyder would go on to win the main draw final.

Grant’s first match Friday came against Miami’s Aubone. The Gator ended the match quickly and won in two sets (6-2, 6-4).

His next match came against USF junior Alvin Tudorica. He started with a 7-5 loss in the first set. Despite a 6-2 victory in the second set, he was eliminated after a 6-3 loss in the final set.

Nirundorn struggled throughout the weekend, starting with a loss Friday against FSU sophomore Jamie Connel. He lost in two sets, 6-2, 6-2, and was sent to the consolation bracket Saturday.

Here he faced Georgia Southern sophomore Dimitris Paliouras. Nirundorn lost the first set, 6-4, but rebounded with a 6-3 victory in the second set. His weekend came to an end with a 10-4 loss in the third set, as he still searches for his first collegiate singles win.

After advancing to the semifinals in their first tournament playing together, UF’s pair of Tokac and Nirundorn was eliminated quickly in the Southeast Regionals. They played North Florida juniors Rodrigo Crespo and Jonas Hartenstein and lost 8-3.

Bonetto and Grant had a more successful first day when they played against Georgia Southern junior Jacob Mitchell and senior Alexandros Roumpis. They won a tight battle 8-7 (5) to advance to Saturday’s rounds.

They took on FAU’s Acevedo and Krolo. Bonetto and Grant found themselves on the losing side of another close match and were eliminated by a 8-6 loss.

Braswell and Greif showed they could be successful in both singles and doubles. The pair’s first match came against Stetson senior Alexandre Hillhouse and sophomore Sami Ozzor. The Gators came through with a dominant 8-2 victory.

The two moved on to play Georgia Tech freshman Robert Bauer and junior Keshav Chopra Saturday. The match was tighter than the last, but Florida’s duo still won, this time by a score of 8-6.

Braswell and Greif moved on and faced Georgia’s pair of Croyder and fifth-year senior Britton Johnston. They came up with a victory in the quarterfinal round, 8-3.

In Sunday’s semifinal round, the pair saw their journey come to an end. They lost in two sets (6-3, 7-6 (6)).

The Gators will now prepare for the ITA Fall National Championships in San Diego, California, Nov. 2. 

Contact Kyle Bumpers at kbumpers@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @BumpersKyle.

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Kyle Bumpers

Kyle Bumpers is a fourth-year journalism major and the sports editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he cries about Russell Wilson and writes an outrageous amount of movie reviews on Letterboxd.


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