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Friday, April 19, 2024

No. 19 Gators fall short in comeback attempt against No. 25 Aggies

Florida’s four-game win streak snapped in loss

Florida freshman Jonah Braswell hits the ball in his doubles match during the Gators' 6-1 win against the Arkansas Razorbacks Friday, March 24, 2023.
Florida freshman Jonah Braswell hits the ball in his doubles match during the Gators' 6-1 win against the Arkansas Razorbacks Friday, March 24, 2023.

Florida’s men’s tennis team found itself down 3-1 as the No. 25 Texas A&M Aggies were one win away from victory. The Gators closed the gap and needed a tiebreaker win in the final set of the day to complete the comeback. 

Freshman Jonah Braswell faced off against Aggies sophomore Giulio Perego. Unfortunately for the Gators, Perego put an end to their dreams when he won the tie-breaking third-set.

The No. 19 Florida Gators (10-8, 5-3 SEC) lost to Texas A&M (12-8, 5-3 SEC) 4-3 Saturday evening in College Station.

As has been the theme in recent games, Florida won the doubles point in quick order. Sophomore Nate Bonetto and freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn defeated Texas A&M juniors Pierce Rollins and Kenner Taylor 6-2 for the early advantage.

Graduate student Axel Nefve and junior WIll Grant — the No. 29-ranked doubles pair — finished the job for the Gators with a 7-6 (5) win over Aggies seniors Trey Hilderbrand and Noah Schachter.

UF senior Lukas Greif and Braswell played against TAMU junior Raphael Perot and Perego. The match was retired after Florida secured the doubles point.

The Aggies responded right off the bat in singles play. Schachter, the No. 38-ranked singles player, defeated the No. 70-ranked Nefve in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, to start the singles round.

No. 65-ranked Perot followed suit with a two-set victory over No. 81-ranked Grant, 7-5, 6-2, to put the Aggies up 2-1.

Aggies senior Guido Marson joined the party with a win in straight sets over Bonetto, 7-6 (0), 6-3.

Florida’s first singles point came courtesy of Nirundorn, who earned a straight-sets victory over Texas A&M sophomore Luke Casper, 7-5, 7-5.

Greif, who looked to tie the match at 3 apiece, fought against the No. 113-ranked Hilderbrand for three sets. Hilderbrand won the first set 6-4, before Greif rallied to win the next two 7-6 (5), 6-3. 

The final match to determine the winner was already in the heat of battle. Braswell, the No. 97-ranked singles player, was in the tiebreaker of his second set against Perego when Greif defeated Hilderbrand. 

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Braswell won the first set 7-6 (5). The second set was tied at 6-6 before Perego won the tiebreaker to win 7-6 (5) and send the match to a decisive third set.

Like the second set, Braswell and Perego found themselves in ultimate drama at the end of the third set. A third straight tiebreaker between the two determined which school would take the victory. Perego found himself on top with a 7-6 (2) third-set win that clinched a 4-3 Texas A&M Victory.

Florida will head home to Gainesville for a double-header against Eastern Kentucky, which kicks off at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Alfred A. Ring Complex.

Contact Eitan Ohana at eohana@alligator.org. Follow him on twitter @eitan_ohana.

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