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Friday, June 14, 2024

Gators men’s tennis falls short against No. 9 Tennessee

Florida could not bounce back after Friday’s loss, losing again Sunday to the Volunteers

<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.

The Florida Gators men’s tennis team (6-6, 2-2 SEC) fell short to the No. 9 Tennessee Volunteers (15-3, 4-0 SEC), Sunday afternoon. The Volunteers dominated the Gators from the first serve, winning the match 6-1. 

The Gators have been strong in the doubles session all year, but the Volunteers outplayed them Sunday. On Court 1, junior Nate Bonetto and freshman Aidan Kim were tasked with playing the No. 4-ranked team of senior Johannus Monday and graduate student Angel Diaz for the Volunteers. Bonetto and Kim couldn’t come up with anything to slow the highly-ranked doubles team down, losing 6-1. 

On Court 2, the No. 39-ranked Gators duo of freshman Adhithya Ganesan and sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn took on the No. 20-ranked Volunteers team of freshman Filip Pieczonka and junior Shunsuke Mitsui. Much like the match on Court 1, the Gators had no answers for the Volunteers duo and lost the set 6-2. This win gave Tennessee the doubles point and a 1-0 lead in the match.

Picking up where they left off from doubles, the Volunteers quickly went up 2-0 in the match with a win on Court 4. No. 99 Nirundorn was up against Diaz. Diaz flew out of the gates in the match, winning the first set 6-1. Nirundorn would find his game more in the second set, but Diaz proved to be too strong, winning the match 6-1, 6-4.

The Gators found some fight on Court 6 from freshman Kevin Edengren. Edengren squared off against graduate student Younes Lalami of Tennessee. Edengren would cut the Volunteers lead in half with a 6-2, 6-4 win, making the match score 2-1 in favor of the Volunteers. This win fueled Florida to fight in its matches. And for a few games, it worked.

However, Tennessee put a stop to the Gators' charge with a win on Court 5 from No. 94 Pieczonka. He faced off against fellow freshman and Florida’s Henry Jefferson. Pieczonka took the first set 6-3, then the two had a tight battle in the second set. In the end, Pieczonka buckled down and squeezed out the final games to win the set 7-5 and give the Volunteers a 3-1 lead.

The clincher for Tennessee came in the form of a 6-3, 6-4 win from No. 23 Mitsui on Court 2. This match was close the whole way through, but Mitsui came out on top against Kim.

The Gators will return to action in Gainesville on Tuesday with a doubleheader against Tennessee State University.

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

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