After a disappointing match March 9 against Mississippi State, the Florida men’s tennis team regrouped in Auburn on Sunday to win 6-1 over the Tigers.
The harsh weather outside caused the match to be moved indoors, but No. 9 Florida (8-5, 3-1 SEC) still dominated in all aspects of the match against Auburn (9-8, 0-3 SEC).
The team continued its streak of solid doubles play.
"Really proud of our guys today,” coach Bryan Shelton said. “We are starting to find our rhythm on the doubles court.”
No. 1-ranked doubles team of junior Alfredo Perez and sophomore Johannes Ingildsen led the way for Florida’s doubles teams as they won 6-4 without ever trailing the set.
The No. 12 tandem of freshman Duarte Vale and junior McClain Kessler clinched the doubles point soon after by narrowly escaping Auburn’s pairing of freshman Tad Maclean and junior Olle Thestrup.
Vale and Kessler gave up an early 3-0 lead in their set but rallied to win the match 6-4. This was their first time clinching the doubles point since Feb. 9 against Michigan.
Their victory also gave Florida its fourth consecutive doubles point.
In singles, Shelton decided to shake up the lineups after dreadful performances on almost all the courts against Mississippi State.
He inserted Kessler into the lineup for the first time since Feb. 17 and placed senior Jordan Belga into the lineup for the first time this season.
Even with the changes in the singles lineup, Florida carried the momentum from its strong doubles play into its singles play. Of the five players who won their singles matches, all of them did it in straight sets.
Belga made the most of his opportunity, winning 6-3, 6-3 on Court 6 while Kessler struggled against Tigers’ Lorenzo Rodriguez, losing in straight sets 7-5, 6-2.
“In singles, it was great to get Jordan in the line-up for the first time this season,” Shelton said. “He did really well.”
On Court 1, Perez — who had not won a set in two straight singles matches — took his frustrations out on Auburn’s Edward Nguyen. The No. 7-ranked singles player lost only one game on his way to a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
Perez’s doubles partner, No. 6 Ingildsen, also rebounded from his poor play on March 9. The Denmark native won decisively 6-2, 6-2 on Court 2 to give Florida its match-clinching fourth point.
Chase Perez-Blanco vindicated his subpar performance against Mississippi State as well after he won convincingly 6-1, 6-2.
Perez-Blanco, who played on Court 6 for the last four matches, showed that he earned his promotion to Court 4 with his solid play.
After being named SEC Freshman of the Week, Oliver Crawford looked strong once again as he won in straight sets 7-5, 6-1 over Auburn’s Olle Thestrup for his fourth consecutive singles victory. He remains undefeated in conference play.
“Overall pleased with how we played today,” Shelton said, “looking forward to another great week ahead."
The Gators will have a little time off before playing a midweek-matchup at home against TCU Wednesday. First serves are set for 6 p.m.