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Thursday, December 07, 2023

Gators men’s tennis dominates in Bedford Cup

Tanapatt Nirundorn, Borys Zgola and Olek Orlikowski all walk away victorious

Florida freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn celebrates during the Gators' 4-3 loss to the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs Sunday, April 9, 2023.
Florida freshman Tanapatt Nirundorn celebrates during the Gators' 4-3 loss to the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs Sunday, April 9, 2023.

The Florida Gators men’s tennis team made quite a racket in their return to the court this past weekend. 

Florida took part in the Bedford Cup at Lake Nona, Florida, this past weekend, where it dominated in nearly every aspect. UF secured victories in the tournament’s singles and doubles championships. 

Sophomores Tanapatt Nirundorn and Borys Zgola teamed up to snatch the crown in doubles. Sophomore Olek Orlikowski went on to defeat his own Gator teammate, graduate student Magnus Johnson, in the singles championship round.

Nirundorn and Zgola made quick work of their opening-round opponents Friday afternoon, knocking out Stetson junior Lucas Olivier and sophomore Marc Saura in a 6-0 beatdown. 

In the semifinals, however, the Florida duo had their work cut out for them. Central Florida’s duo of senior Lleyton Cronje and sophomore Santiago Giamichelle pushed Nirundorn and Zgola to the brink in their matchup. Nevertheless, the Gators pair prevailed in a 7-6 victory to advance to the championship round.

Nirundorn and Zgola matched up against North Florida junior Breno Marques and sophomore Andreas Scott in the finals. While the UNF duo put up a valiant fight, the Gators proved to be too much to handle, with Nirundorn and Zgola coming away with a 6-4 victory to claim the doubles tournament victory. 

In the singles tournament, Orlikowski and Johnson each got off to a strong start on their respective weekends. Johnson defeated Olivier 6-4, 6-3 in their round of 16 matchup. Orlikowski went on to knock out Florida Atlantic senior Joao Graca in the opening round via a 6-3, 6-2 victory. 

In the quarterfinals, Johnson engaged in a fierce battle with Giamichelle, eventually coming away with a closely contested win, 6-2, 6-7(2), 7-5. Orlikowski had an easier time dealing with his quarterfinals opponent, putting away Florida Gulf Coast freshman Phillip Bosse in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.

The semifinals proved to be more of the same for Johnson and Orlikowski. Johnson survived a nail-biting match with Cronje to secure a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 victory and a berth in the championship round. Orlikowski, in the meantime, continued to skate through the tournament, securing another win in straight sets against Owls graduate student Jiri Jenicek (6-3, 6-4).

When the time came for the final round, Orlikowski quickly put away his teammate. Johnson put up a fight, but he failed to do much damage against Orlikowski, who cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 victory to win the singles championship. 

Johnson did not walk away empty-handed, however. Following the tournament’s conclusion, he was awarded the Bedford Cup’s Sportsmanship Award, putting a bow on an already successful weekend for the Gators.

Florida will return to the court on Sept. 30 for the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Contact Jack Meyer at Follow him on Twitter @JackMeyerUF.

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Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a third-year journalism major and a sports reporter for The Alligator. In his free time, he enjoys running, spending time with friends, playing video games, and watching the Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins.

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