Nothing about the red and gray courts at Ohio State’s Varsity Indoor Tennis Center resembled home for Florida’s men’s tennis team. Losing the first four points of a dual match was just as strange to the No. 11 program in the nation.
On Sunday afternoon, the Gators concluded a weekend road trip with 5-2 loss to the No. 2 Buckeyes in front of an energized OSU home crowd.
Only silence traveled with the ball as Michigan senior Alex Knight launched a forehand deep …
The match’s doubles action was tight. After splitting the No. 1 and No. 2 courts, the doubles point came down to the No. 3 position with sophomore Johannes Ingildsen and senior Chase Perez-Blanco playing together for the second consecutive match. After dominating Michigan’s No. 3 doubles pair on Friday, Ingildsen and Perez-Blanco lost to redshirt senior Matt Mendez and junior Hunter Tubert in a closely contested 7-5 match.
“We had our chances to win the doubles point,” coach Bryan Shelton said. “But they played better down the stretch.”
The Gators (4-2) are now 0-2 when losing the doubles point this season.
Freshman Duarte Vale struggled to find a rhythm after losing both his service games in a 6-2 loss on the No. 1 doubles court with his partner junior McClain Kessler. In singles, Vale fell to freshman John McNally 6-3, 6-2 and is now 2-2 at the No. 3 position this season.
At No. 1 singles, Ohio State’s No. 5-ranked senior Mikael Torpegaard ended junior Alfredo Perez’s undefeated stretch with a one-sided 6-2, 6-2 defeat.
Securing the Buckeyes’ fourth point, redshirt sophomore Alex Kobelt defeated Kessler 6-4, 6-4 on the No. 6 court.
“We just didn’t play aggressively enough,” Shelton said. “You aren’t going to beat (Ohio State) unless you step up.”
After Ohio State (8-0) clinched the match, the teams agreed to complete play on the three remaining singles courts.
At the No. 2 position, Ingildsen beat No. 44-ranked sophomore JJ Wolf 7-5, 6-4.
Grabbing Florida’s second point, freshman Andy Andrade secured his first victory over a ranked opponent, outlasting No. 30-ranked redshirt sophomore Kyle Seelig in a 6-3, 4-6, 1-0(8) victory.
Freshman Oliver Crawford’s 7-6(4), 7-6(5) loss to junior Martin Joyce on the No. 4 court brought Sunday’s contest to a close.
Next week, the Gators will continue their stretch of indoor tennis at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
A story from floridagators.com contributed to this report.