Everyone loves a winner-take-all scenario, and that’s exactly what Florida senior Lukas Greif and Vanderbilt fifth year Macsen Sisam provided.
After all other games played led to a 3-3 tie, Greif and Sisam were all that was left.
The No. 26 Florida Gators (8-7, 3-2 SEC) defeated the No. 61 Vanderbilt Commodores (5-10, 1-4 SEC) 4-3 Saturday afternoon in Nashville.
Commodores sophomore Michael Ross and freshman Nathan Cox left their mark early after they defeated Gators sophomore Nate Bonetto and freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn 6-1.
In a must-win match to keep their doubles hopes alive, Florida junior Will Grant and graduate student Axel Nefve found themselves in a 4-4 tie against Vanderbilt junior Jeremie Casabon and senior Siim Troost. They fell short in the last two games, however, as the Commodores won 6-4.
Vanderbilt secured the doubles point with the win.
The final doubles match between Greif and freshman Jonah Braswell and VU senior Joubert Klopper and Sisam was retired since Vanderbilt already won the point.
Florida turned the tides quickly in singles play.
The No. 72-ranked Grant found redemption in his singles match against Klopper. He won the match in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
No. 79-ranked Braswell followed up Grant's performance with a two-set victory of his own over Ross. The first set was a tough 6-4 victory. The second set wasn’t much of a challenge for Braswell, and he pulled out a 6-1 win.
Third in line was Nefve, the No. 103-ranked singles player. He defeated Cox in straight sets 6-3, 6-3, which put all the pressure on the Commodores, who trailed UF 3-1.
Casabon scored Vanderbilt’s first singles point with his straight-sets victory over freshman Togan Tokac, 7-6 (3), 6-3, to cut Florida’s lead to one.
With another opportunity for the Gators to clinch, freshman Olek Orlikowski faced off against Troost.
The Commodore won the first set 6-4, which put him in position to tie the match and deny Florida of the win. Orlikowski didn’t let this happen, though, and he won the second set 6-3. Troost, determined to delay the Gators’ celebration, won the third set 6-3 and tied the match at three apiece.
All the pressure shifted to two people — Grief and Sisam — to determine who would bring their school victory.
Greif gave UF early hope with a first-set shutout of Sisam, 6-0. That hope never turned false; he won the second set 6-2 and sealed Florida’s 4-3 victory.
The Gators will head home to host the Arkansas Razorbacks at 5 p.m. Friday in Alfred A. Ring Complex.
Contact Eitan Ohana at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @eitan_ohana.