The weather in Gainesville coming into Sunday’s Tennessee-Florida men’s tennis matchup was a brisk 70 degrees with a calm wind and blue skies. But the weather wasn’t the coolest part of the match.
Johannes Ingildsen won his 50th singles match with a calm demeanor that could rival Mr. Rodgers.
When Ingildsen took the second set of his milestone match, he didn’t jump or cry out. Instead, he subtly pumped his fist and walked calmly to his opponent to tell him “good game.”
The No. 18 Gators (7-4, 2-0 SEC) rolled to a 6-1 victory over Tennessee on Sunday at the Ring Tennis Complex. Their composed and poised attitude stood out as the deciding factor that snapped the Volunteers’ four-match win streak.
“We know we are a good team,” coach Bryan Shelton said. “Getting this validation after beating two really good teams this weekend gives us a huge boost of confidence.”
Florida defeated Tennessee (11-3, 1-1 SEC) with impressive singles play led by Ingildsen’s 6-1, 6-3 win over Preston Touliatos. The sophomore from Denmark said he was pleased with his achievement of 50 singles wins but not surprised.
“It takes a lot of competing,” Ingildsen said. “I’m proud of myself for getting to 50 at such a young age.”
Freshmen Oliver Crawford and Andy Andrade also won their matches in straight sets on Courts 4 and 5, respectively. Crawford shined once again in his commanding 6-1, 6-0 win.
Andrade’s match-clinching victory (6-4, 6-3) was his first win in singles play since Feb. 17 against Notre Dame.
One negative for Florida in Sunday’s match was on Court 1.
No. 10 junior Alfredo Perez struggled mightily with Tennessee’s No. 25 Timo Stodder, losing in straight sets 6-1, 6-1. Stodder’s powerful serves, combined with his accuracy on returns, visibly frustrated Perez for the entire match.
“We will need to figure out what adjustments to make with (Alfredo),” Shelton said, “to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
The Gators had complete control in doubles play as well.
The No. 9-ranked doubles pair of junior McClain Kessler and freshman Duarte Vale dominated in a 6-1 win over Tennessee’s Luis Valero and Preston Touliatos. The duo came out determined to vindicate their lackluster performance against Georgia on Friday when they lost 6-3.
The No. 7 duo, consisting of Crawford and senior Chase Perez-Blanco, clinched the doubles point for the Gators for the second match in a row. The pair continued its momentum from Friday, winning its set 6-4.
Shelton attributed the team’s recent success in doubles to returning to old rotations.
“Sometimes you want to experiment (with the rotations) as a coach,” Shelton said. “I’m glad we found what works so early in the season.”
Florida will continue SEC play when it travels to Starkville for a Friday matchup with Mississippi State. First serve is set for 4 p.m.