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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Jeremy Jin leads charge for Gators at ITA Southeast Regionals

Freshman was only Gator to make the quarterfinals

<p>Adam Steinberg will be the eleventh UF men’s tennis head coach in program history. </p>

Adam Steinberg will be the eleventh UF men’s tennis head coach in program history.

Jeremy Jin may only be a freshman, but he already solidified himself as an integral member of the Florida Gators men’s tennis team.

The Gators traveled to Georgia Tech this past weekend for the ITA Southeast Regionals tournament. Jin turned in Florida’s finest outing of the weekend and secured three singles victories en route to a berth in the quarterfinals. 

In addition to Jin’s standout showing, three other Gators turned in respectable performances. 

Sophomore Olek Orlikowski, graduate student JanMagnus Johnson and freshman Aidan Kim each picked up a pair of match victories and earned spots in the tournament’s round of 16.

While Florida found success in their singles matches, the Gators were not as lucky in the doubles tournament. All three of UF’s doubles duos (Kim and sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn, Jin and junior Nate Bonetto, and Johnson and Orlikowski) got knocked out in their respective opening matches. 

The Gators went to work right away in the singles tournament Friday afternoon. Four members of Florida’s squad secured straight-sets victories in their round of 64 matchups. 

Jin and Kim each secured 6-4, 7-5 wins against their respective opponents; Jin took down South Florida senior Tom Pisane, while Kim knocked out Georgia Southern sophomore Dimitris Paliouras.

Nirundorn and Johnson had an easier time dealing with their opening opponents. Nirundorn dominated Florida Atlantic junior John Bernard in a 6-3, 6-1 win, while Johnson cruised to a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Kennesaw State fifth-year Harvey Conway.

Orlikowski faced more of an uphill battle in his opening match, but he still came out on top. He pulled off a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 comeback win against Miami sophomore Antonio Prat. 

Bonetto was the only Gator eliminated in the round of 64. FSU junior Alex Bulte swept Bonetto in a 6-2, 6-4 opening round victory.

Jin’s hot start rolled over to the round of 32, as he blew right past Central Florida sophomore Paul Colin in a commanding 6-1, 6-2 win. The rest of Florida’s singles squad, however, had their work cut out for them.

In one of the tournament’s most entertaining matchups, Orlikowski faced off against FSU senior Youcef Rihane. In a match where neither man pulled any punches, Orlikowski squeezed by to secure a 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2 victory. 

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Meanwhile, Johnson and Kim came away with a pair of comeback wins against the Georgia Bulldogs to advance to the round of 16. Johnson knocked off Bulldogs freshman Niels Ratiu in a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) victory, while Kim clinched a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 win against Georgia junior Ryan Colby.

Nirundorn subsequently fell to Hurricanes junior Martin Katz in Florida’s final round of 32 matchup. His 6-3, 6-1 loss cut the number of Gators athletes remaining to four.

The Round of 16 ended up serving as a chopping block for most of Florida’s remaining squad. Kim went down in a 6-4, 6-1 straight-sets loss to Knights sophomore Mehdi Benchakroun. 

Orlikowski and Johnson put up more of a fight, but neither could hang on against their respective opponents. Georgia junior Miguel Perez Pena eliminated Orlikowski in a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 loss, while Johnson fell to FSU freshman Justin Lyons in a 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 defeat.

While all his teammates were knocked out one by one, Jin stood his ground and kept on rolling. 

He defeated Kennesaw State senior Raul Garcia 6-3, 6-1 for his third consecutive straight-sets victory of the tournament. Jin also secured Florida’s only berth in the ITA Southeast Regional Quarterfinals round.

Nevertheless, Jin’s run came to an end soon after that. In his Sunday quarterfinal match, Jin went down in a 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss to Georgia freshman Cyrus Mahjoob. 

Florida will now have some time off before they return to the court next week. Their next round of action will come in the M15 Tallahassee Tournament, which will start Oct. 23.

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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