The 16th ranked Florida men’s tennis team (6-4) lost its fourth consecutive match on Saturday to 20th ranked Baylor (7-1) 4-3.
The Gators once again started the match flat in the doubles losing the doubles point. Florida’s number two doubles team of juniors Mike Alford and Florent Diep struggled losing 8-3 to Baylor’s Julian Lenz and Patrick Pradella. Florida’s number three team of senior Billy Federhofer and freshman Luke Johnson were taken out on court three losing 8-5 to the Bear’s duo of Diego Galeano and Marko Krickovic.
Federhofer says the team need to bring the intensity at the beginning of the match.
No match was more intense on Saturday than the clinching match. Tied at 3-3 after Gator teammate Mike Alford lost his match at number four singles 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, hopes for winning the match were on junior Florent Diep’s shoulders at number two singles. The match lasted 3 hours and 13 minutes, with most of the games being played to deuce (40-40) before the game was decided.
Diep dropped the first set 6-3, but came out strong in the second set and ultimately won the set 6-4. However, Diep could not keep the momentum going, wilting in the third set and giving the fourth and deciding point to Baylor.
Florida coach Bryan Shelton said that players should be prepared to have long, extended matches.
In total, Diep spent 3 hours and 56 minutes on court.
However, despite the end result, things looked good at the beginning of singles play. Florida junior Stephane Piro got things going for the Gators at number three singles dispaching Baylor’s Tony Lupieri 6-2, 6-4.
The Gators took the lead in the match when freshman Luke Johnson at number six singles defeated Baylor’s Diego Galeano 7-5,6-3 to give Florida a 2-1 edge. Johnson is 4-1 on the season in limited match play this season.
The Bears would come roaring back just five minutes later when Florida senior Bob van Overbeek lost his match at number one singles 6-4,6-4. Overbeek lost the match despite being up in the first set 4-1. With the match tied at 2-2, it was clear that this match would go down to the wire.
Florida coach Bryan Shelton said that the emotions on display by Baylor made it clear that the Bears would not go down quietly.
The Gators came back to take the lead over Baylor. On court five Florida senior Billy Federhofer fought hard to defeat Baylor’s Marko Krickovic (a top-100 player) 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-4. The highlight of the match came at match point when Federhofer returned a great serve and finished the point with a running forehand passing shot.
Up 3-2, the Gators only needed one more point to win, but that final point never came as Florida’s Alford and Diep lost their matches to give Baylor the win.
Next up for Florida is its first SEC match up of the season against Texas A&M on Sunday, March 3.
No. 1 Doubles
UF Stephane Piro/Bob van Overbeek DNF vs. BU Mate Zsiga. UF led 8-7.
BU Julian Lenz/Patrick Pradella d. UF Mike Alford/Florent Diep(46) 8-3 43 min.
No. 3 Doubles
BU Diego Galeano/Marko Krickovic d. UF Billy Federhofer/Luke Johnson 8-5. 59 min
No. 1 Singles
BU Patrick Pradella d. UF Bob van Overbeek (78) 6-4,6-4. 1 hour and 40 min
No. 2 Singles
BU Julian Lenz (59) d. UF Florent Diep(36) 6-3,4-6,6-3. 3 hours and 13 min.
No. 3 Singles
UF Stephane Piro (108) d. BU Tony Lupieri 6-2,6-4. 1 hour and 18 min.
N0. 4 Singles
BU Mate Zsiga (76) d. UF Mike Alford 4-6,6-3, 6-4. 2 hours and 47 min.
No. 5 Singles
UF Billy Federhofer d. BU Marko Krickovic (56) 7-6(4), 1-6,6-4. 2 hours and 29 min.
No. 6. Singles
UF Luke Johnson d. BU Diego Galeano 7-5, 6-3. 1 hour and 35 min.