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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Men’s tennis goes winless at ITA Kickoff Weekend

The No. 20 Gators traveled to Chapel Hill, NC, for the ITA Kickoff Weekend, where they fell to No. 17 Wake Forest and No. 16 North Carolina

Jeremy Jin hits a backhand shot in the Gators men's tennis team's match against the Citadel on Friday, January 19, 2024.
Jeremy Jin hits a backhand shot in the Gators men's tennis team's match against the Citadel on Friday, January 19, 2024.

The Florida Gators men’s tennis team (3-2) dropped both matches in the ITA Kickoff Weekend. This loss means the No. 20 Gators will not qualify for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February.

Saturday, Florida faced off against No. 17 Wake Forest (4-1) in the first round of bracket play. The Demon Deacons came out firing in doubles, sweeping play. On Court 1, the Gators freshmen duo of Jeremy Jin and Aidan Kim fell 6-2 to No. 19 sophomore DK Suresh Ekambaram and graduate student Holden Koons.

The match on Court 3 was the clincher for Wake Forest, where its team of senior Luciano Tacchi and freshman Luca Pow won 6-3 over junior Nate Bonetto and graduate student JanMagnus Johnson of the Gators. 

Headed into singles action, the Gators trailed 1-0 to the Demon Deacons. On Court 3, Florida freshman Adhithya Ganesan evened the match 1-1 with a dominant 6-2, 6-4 win over graduate student Matthew Thomson for Wake Forest. Ganesan has yet to lose in singles play this season.

From there, it was all Demon Deacons as they went on to win the match 4-1. On Court 5, Koons defeated UF sophomore and No. 69-ranked Tanapatt Nirundorn 6-3, 6-2. On Court 4, Tacchi beat Bonetto 6-4, 7-5. On Court 6, Pow took down No. 86 Johnson 6-3, 6-3.

The loss against Wake Forest sent the Gators into the consolation bracket, where they met No. 16 North Carolina Sunday morning. 

In doubles, the Gators and Tar Heels split the matches on Court 1 and Court 2. 

On Court 1, Jin and Kim lost 6-2 to the Tar Heel pairing of graduate student Phillip Jordan and sophomore Benjamin Kittay. 

Ganesan and Nirundorn took Court 2 6-3 over North Carolina sophomore Will Jansen and graduate student Karl Poling. Court 3 represented the deciding match for the doubles point. Tar Heel senior Peter Murphy and freshman Patrick Schoen capitalized on a break of serve at 5-5 to take down Bonetto and Johnson 7-5.

On Court 1, Jansen came out firing in singles action against No. 57 Kim to take the first set 6-2. Jansen proved to be too much for Kim, however, and took the second set 6-4. The Gators now trailed the match 2-0.

UF cut the deficit in half with a win on Court 4 from Bonetto 6-1, 7-5 over Schoen. North Carolina responded with a win of their own coming from Court 5. Jordan took down No. 69 Nirundorn 6-3, 6-4.

Continuing his undefeated singles season was Ganesan with a tightly contested win over Kittay 7-6, 6-4. With the match score now 3-2 in favor of North Carolina, all attention shifted to Court 2 and Court 6, where both matches were in third sets. 

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The clincher came from UNC graduate student No. 83 Will Peters with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Johnson. Peters broke Johnson’s serve to go up 4-2 in the final set and closed it out from there. 

The Gators will be back in action Feb. 3 in Lake Nona, Florida, at the United States Tennis Association National Campus where they will take on No. 25 Florida State at 5 p.m.

Contact Chandler Hawkes at chawkes@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @HawkesChandler.

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