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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Gators men’s tennis eliminated from SEC Tournament after loss to Tennessee

Florida earned only one point in the quarterfinals

Sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn (left) and freshman Adhithya Ganesan (right) celebrate after a point in the Gators men's tennis team's match against North Florida on Friday, January 19, 2024.
Sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn (left) and freshman Adhithya Ganesan (right) celebrate after a point in the Gators men's tennis team's match against North Florida on Friday, January 19, 2024.

Sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn knew his team needed a win. Doubles went in the Volunteers’ favor when the Gators failed to secure a victory in either three matches. Singles looked to lean toward the same fate, but Nirundorn was determined to do all he could to win his match. 

In his singles matchup against Tennessee graduate student Angel Diaz, Nirundorn came out swinging. His offensive prowess offered him a slim lead over his opponent to secure a 6-4 win in the first set. 

The Gators momentum kept flowing. He stepped into set two for another fight ready to dominate, but Diaz refused to make it easy. With a promising backcourt effort, Diaz tied the set 2-2. Nirundorn refused to step back and leveraged heavy defensive blocks to garner a 7-5 victory over the Volunteer.

However, Nirundorn was the only bright spot in the afternoon for Florida, securing the only point for the Gators in the match with a 6-4, 7-5 singles win. 

The No. 7 Florida  men’s tennis team (13-11, 6-6 SEC) fell to the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers (22-5, 10-2 SEC) in the quarterfinal round of the SEC Tournament at the LSU Tennis Complex. The loss eliminates the Gators from the tournament.

Florida suffered a blowout loss in the doubles round. UF junior Nate Bonetto and freshman Aidan Kim struggled to keep pace with Tennessee duo senior Johannus Monday and Diaz. The Volunteers established a firm lead in the early moments of the game, and the Gators slipped into a 6-1 loss. 

Gators freshmen Kevin Edengren and Jeremy Jin bolstered stronger efforts to hold off the Volunteers in their doubles matchup. However, Tennessee’s offensive strengths shut down Florida and pushed UF to forfeit the doubles point after a 6-2 loss. 

The Volunteers entered the singles round with the advantage. 

In the singles, Monday dominated Jin in set one. He broke a serve in the opening moments of the match and built a cushion for his fight to take the advantage point into the second set. Jin didn’t go down as easily in the second; his consistent frontcourt hits tied the match 5-5.

Despite his comeback efforts in the second set, Monday blasted an offensive streak in the game and took home a 7-5 win over the Gators to collect another point for UT. 

Volunteers junior Shunsuke Mitsui claimed a 6-0 win over Kim in Set 1. Kim failed to answer his vicious hits and quickly found himself in a loss. But his flagging efforts didn’t persist. In the second set, Kim fought to keep pace with Mitsui but in the closing rallies, the Volunteer ended the Gators work to claim a 7-5 win. 

UF freshman Adhithya Ganesan struggled against Tennessee freshman Filip Pieczonka. Pieczonka soared after a promising opening serve and took a 6-2 victory over him in the first set. Ganesan stayed persistent in the following set despite Pieczonka’s athleticism overcoming him in a 6-3 win over UF.

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The remainder of the matches were conceded once the Volunteers procured a four-point lead over the Gators and advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. 

Contact Krisha Sanghavi at Follow her on Twitter at @krishasang.  

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Krisha Sanghavi

Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.

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