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Friday, June 14, 2024

Gators men’s tennis drops third straight conference match

Florida fell 4-1 to Auburn Friday afternoon, moving them to 2-3 in conference play

<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.

Coming off of a strong mid-week performance against Tennessee State, the No. 25 Florida Gators men’s tennis team (8-7, 2-3 SEC) traveled to Auburn, Alabama, to take on the Auburn Tigers (12-5, 3-1 SEC). The Tigers handed the Gators their third straight SEC loss with a dominant 4-1 win Friday afternoon. 

Once again, the Gators started out strong in the doubles session, capturing the tightly contested point. The Gator duo of freshman Jeremy Jin and Henry Jefferson won the match on Court 2 over the sophomore pair of Alejandro Moreno and Billy Blaydes 6-4. Auburn’s fifth-year tandem of Raul Dobai and Finn Murgett edged out the victory on Court 1 in a tiebreaker over Florida junior Nate Bonetto and freshman Aidan Kim.

The doubles point came down to Court 3, where freshman Kevin Edengren and sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn for the Gators played fifth-year Tyler Stice and junior Will Nolan for the Tigers. The back-and-forth match ended with the Gators duo prevailing 7-5 to clinch the doubles point. 

The downfall for the Gators in their recent SEC matches has been in the singles session. And the same theme continued Friday. UF failed to carry over any momentum from winning the doubles point and proceeded to drop five of six first sets in singles play. 

On Court 4, Auburn’s Blaydes dismantled Florida’s No. 99-ranked Nirundorn. The 6-3, 6-1 win for the Tigers evened up the match at 1-1. 

Moreno, on Court 3, would follow suit with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over UF’s Bonetto. Within minutes, Auburn found itself up 3-1 in the match following a 6-2, 6-3 win on Court 2 from No. 73-ranked Murgett over Kim.

The Gators were down but not yet out. After dropping the first set, Jin on Court 1 for the Gators battled back to win the second set. Jefferson was winning his match on Court 6, and on Court 5, Edengren was battling to keep the Gators in the match. 

Despite their late efforts, redshirt freshman Nicholas Heng clinched the match for Auburn with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Edengren. 

The Gators will be back Sunday at 2 p.m. to take on the No. 24 Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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

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