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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Gators men’s tennis opens SEC play with important sweep over No. 12 Texas A&M

In both teams’ SEC openers, Florida dominated the match 4-0 to get the upset win

Gators men's tennis freshman Jeremy Jin shows emotion after a point in Florida's win over the University of Central Florida on Monday, February 19, 2024.
Gators men's tennis freshman Jeremy Jin shows emotion after a point in Florida's win over the University of Central Florida on Monday, February 19, 2024.

The Florida Gators men’s tennis team (5-4, 1-0 SEC) opened conference play with a convincing win over the No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies (9-3, 0-1 SEC) Friday. The Gators swept the Aggies to stay undefeated at home this season.

Before the match could even get started, it was stopped. Right before the first doubles point was played, the skies opened up, flooding the courts and everyone in the stands. The match was moved indoors, where UF only has three courts, and there were no spectators allowed.

But despite no fans, the Gators earned the early advantage in the match after winning the doubles point. The team has clinched the doubles point in its last three matches. UF got wins on Court 2 and Court 3. On Court 2, the No. 41-ranked duo of freshman Adhithya Ganesan and sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn took down the Aggies junior tandem of Luke Casper and JC Roddick 6-2. The Aggies took the match on Court 1, so the doubles point came down to Court 3.

On Court 3, the Gators freshman pair of Henry Jefferson and Jeremy Jin bested the No. 57-ranked Aggies doubles team of senior Raphael Perot and freshman Tiago Pires 6-3. 

Due to only having three indoor courts at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex, the singles session was split up into two separate sessions where Courts 1-3 would play first, and then Courts 4-6 would follow. 

Only the first session was needed as the Gators carried their momentum over from the doubles point, using it to fuel them to a 4-0 sweep over the Aggies. Aidan Kim was first to finish as he took on former Gator and No. 87-ranked Togan Tokac. The match was tight the whole way through, but in the end, Kim got the best of Tokac, winning 6-4, 7-5. The win gave the Gators a 2-0 lead in the dual.

The last two matches were battles throughout. Ganesan took on No. 94 Roddick on Court 2. After splitting the first two sets, Ganesan found himself down 4-2 in the third set. Though, the freshman battled back, tying the set 6-6. Ganesan would win the marathon tiebreaker 11-9 and put the Gators within one match of victory. 

The winning match came from the racket of No. 78 Jin. The freshman faced off against No. 69 Perot of Texas A&M and jumped on top early, winning the first set 6-1. Perot fought back in the second set to win it in a tiebreaker. In the end, Jin proved too much for Perot as he won the third set 6-3, claiming the match for the Gators and opening conference play with a huge upset win. 

“Just for these guys to have this feeling is pretty special,” head coach Adam Steinberg said. “They have been going through a tough first two months. I think they got hit hard with college tennis, a lot of the freshmen, and for them to have this feeling, the first SEC match, it couldn’t have worked out any better.”

The Gators return to the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex on Sunday to take on the No. 25 LSU Tigers at noon.

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

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