The crowd was ready for it.
Then-freshman Oliver Crawford clinched the Florida men’s tennis team’s 4-3 upset win over th…
The 423 spectators were participating in their match tradition of clapping on match point. The pressure was on freshman Sam Riffice, but he was ready for it.
Riffice was the No. 2 recruit in the country when he committed to UF and he came for moments like these. An opportunity to beat the No. 2 team in the country and the defending national champions.
For the second time this season, he clinched the match.
The No. 8 Gators upset the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 5-2 on Wednesday evening at the Ring Tennis Complex.
For the second match in a row, the Gators lost in doubles.
Sophomore Duarte Vale and senior McClain Kessler struggled, as did sophomores Oliver Crawford and Andy Andrade. Both lost, and Wake Forest took the doubles point.
The one positive came on court 1, as Riffice and junior Johannes Ingildsen, playing for the first time this season, won.
Florida responded in singles. It started with Kessler, who tied the match at one with a 6-3, 6-1 win. Ingildsen, meanwhile, got a 6-2, 6-2 win on court 4.
It then came down to Riffice and Greif to clinch the match. The two roommates had won their first sets and were in good shape to win their respective matches. And both said post-match that they were stalling so they could clinch the match.
But in the end, Greif won first, 6-3 and 6-2, followed by Riffice 6-3, 6-1. The Deacons then got a point back with a win by No. 21 Bar Botzer over Andy Andrade.
Everyone’s eyes then turned to court one where No. 24 Crawford was battling No. 2 Petros Chrysochos. Most people didn’t leave the Ring Complex, even after the match was clinched, because they wanted to see how this match would finish. Crawford won the first set, but Chrysochos won the second set.
That set up a 10-point tiebreaker. The first player to 10 would win the match. After both players traded points left and right, Crawford came out ahead, winning 10-8 to give the Gators a 5-2 win. The loss was Chrysochos first of the season, he was 11-0 previously.
Crawford said beating a player like Petros was a huge honor.
“It was really cool,” Crawford said post-match. “Petros is obviously one of the best college tennis players of the last year and a half-two years, so it’s really cool to beat him.”
The Gators are 10-2 on the season. They have won four in a row and 11 straight at home. Wake Forest fell to 15-3, and it was only their eighth loss in the last three seasons.
Crawford said the win was huge for the team for the rest of the season.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “We had multiple different guys winning multiple different matches in a row, and it’s a great feeling.”
Follow Noah Ram on Twitter @noah_ram1 and contact him at [email protected].