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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Florida graduate student Axel Nefve swings his racket in the Gators' 6-1 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks Friday, March 24, 2023.
Florida graduate student Axel Nefve swings his racket in the Gators' 6-1 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks Friday, March 24, 2023.

Florida had yet to open the scoring board. Gators freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn stepped to the court ready to finish the 40-30 advantage with a 5-2 lead in the final set. He tossed the ball, stopped for a second and slammed an ace to leave his opponent looking.

His match win ended his 2023 season strong but wasn’t enough to claim a Florida victory. 

The No. 21 Florida Gators took on the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks Sunday afternoon at the Carolina Tennis Center. In their fourth straight conference match against a top-10 team, the Gators’ failed to overcome the Gamecocks and lost 5-2. 

The Gators started the doubles round strong with Florida graduate student Axel Nefve and junior Will Grant blew past South Carolina junior Toby Samuel and junior Connor Thomson. The No. 6-ranked duo easily held off the No.1-ranked pair with a final score of 6-2 to give Florida its only doubles win of the round. 

Florida sophomore Nate Bonetto and Nirundorn went back and forth with Gamecocks graduate student Jake Beasley and junior James Story. In an early fight, the Gators stood up to the No. 51-ranked pair, but their opponents quickly contested to secure a 6-3 win.

Gators senior Lukas Greif and freshman Jonah Braswell lost to South Carolina graduate student Raphael Lambling and sophomore Casey Hoole with a 6-3 final score. The Gamecocks broke the Gators’ serve early on to grant them an advantage throughout the match. Florida attempted to come back later but fell short to lose the doubles’ point for the Gators. 

The Gamecocks entered the singles round with a one-point advantage. 

The No. 41-ranked Nefve lost in the first set to No. 8-ranked Toby Samuel 6-3. Samuel broke Nefve’s serve to win the first set. In the second set, Samuel won three straight breaks against Nefve for an unanswered 6-0 win. The Gamecocks earned a singles point to bring the score to 2-0. 

The No. 83-ranked Grant lost in the first set of his singles match against No.17 Thomson. 

In a break against Grant, Thomson took home the 6-2 first-set win. Thomson continued the Gamecocks’ lead with a 6-3 victory in the second set and South Carolina’s third point of the match. 

No. 106 Braswell won the first set against Story for a 6-4 victory. Braswell and Story continued back and forth in set two for a 5-5 tie. The Gamecock secured a third set with his 7-5 set-two win. In the third set, Braswell claimed one of the Gators’ two points with a 6-3 win.  

Greif led a double break against the No. 120-ranked Lambling in the first set of his singles match for a 6-2 set. His success didn’t last as Lambling won the second set for another 6-2 game. In the final set of the match, Lambling won 6-3 for another South Carolina point. 

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Bonetto lost to No. 102-ranked Hoole with a 6-3 first-set score. Bonetto returned in the second set and forced a third set with a 6-4 victory. In a tight third set, Hoole took home the match point and secured the Gamecocks’ victory. Bonetto fought until the games’ end to clench the victory but failed when Hoole hit a break. 

Nirundorn brought home the Gators’ other point of the match in his singles match against Beasley. Nirundorn took the lead in the first set to secure the 6-3 win. He carried the second set with two breaks for a 6-2 Florida win.

The Gators will compete next in the Southeastern Conference Tournament from April 19 - April 23 in Auburn, Alabama at Yarbrough Tennis Center. 

Contact Krisha Sanghavi at ksanghavi@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @krishasang.

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Krisha Sanghavi

Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.


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