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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Under the lights, Gators men’s tennis team fights off Vanderbilt

With its win tonight, Florida gets back to .500 in conference play

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 (11-9, 5-5 SEC) defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores (11-10, 2-7 SEC) at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex Friday evening. In front of a packed crowd, the Gators and Commodores put on a show, ultimately ending in a 4-2 victory for the Gators. 

“Really good win for us,” Gators head coach Adam Steinberg said. “Any win in the SEC is a good win…I think for our guys to get back to .500 in the SEC is a great place to be right now.”

In doubles, the No. 42-ranked duo in the nation, made up of Gators junior Nate Bonetto and freshman Aidan Kim, continued their good play with a dominant 6-0 victory on Court 1 over the Vanderbilt team of fifth-year Joubert Klopper and junior Michael Ross. This marks the pair's fourth-straight win in conference play.

On Court 2, the Gators freshmen pairing of Jeremy Jin and Adhithya Ganesan took on senior Jeremie Casabon and sophomore Nathan Cox for the Commodores. In Jin and Ganesan’s first time playing together, they fell 6-3 to the Vanderbilt duo, who dominated the match with their forehands.

The doubles point came down to Court 3, where sophomore Tanapatt Nirundorn and freshman Kevin Edengren for the Gators were tied 4-4 with the Commodores freshmen team of Danil Panarin and Hugo Coquelin. 

With Nirundorn serving on the deciding point, he and Edengren made a few big shots and held serve to get to 5-4. The Gators rode the momentum of that game and the rowdy crowd to a 6-4 win to clinch the doubles point for Florida.

To open singles play, the Commodores bounced back with a point of their own on Court 4 from Casabon. He outplayed Bonetto on his way to a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Following that performance up was Panarin on Court 1, taking down Jin 7-5, 6-4 to give Vanderbilt a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Gators bounced back with two points of their own to take a 3-2 lead in the match. On Court 2, Kim dropped the first set to Klopper 6-3, then completely turned that match around to dominate the final two sets 6-2, 6-0. 

With the match tied at 2-2, Nirundorn on Court 5 found himself in a third set too with Ross for the Commodores. After splitting the first two sets 6-3, Nirundorn dug deep to win the match 6-3 in the third.

Clinching the match for Florida was Edengren on Court 6. He took the first set 6-4, and led 4-1 in the second set. Coquelin fought back to take four straight games to put himself within a game of pushing the match to a third set. Now down 5-4, Edengren refocused and reeled off three-straight games to take the set 7-5, and claimed the Gators victory. 

Steinberg said following the match how important the crowd was in today's close win.

“It was a really great atmosphere from down here,” Steinberg said. “Everytime the guys looked up I think they were inspired and playing on Friday night, here, under the lights, is special and something I really looked forward to coming here as a coach.”

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The Gators will be back in action April 12  to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at 6:30 p.m. in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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



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