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Florida men's tennis head coach Bryan Shelton.

Gators Tennis Teams in Action on Valentine’s Day weekend

The #2 Florida men’s tennis and the third ranked women’s teams will both be at home this weekend for dual matches.

The ladies begin Saturday with a match up against #29 Baylor at noon. Roland Thornqvist’s crew is coming off a 4-0 sweep of #4 USC last Sunday and are off to a 3-0 start this season. However, the head coach knows that wins and losses are not the most important result this early in the year.

“It’s very important to have the ultimate goal in mind every time you go out there,” Thornqvist said. “That’s to become a better player every time you step on the court.”

The #5 doubles pairing of Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan have been those players for UF thus far — they dispatched the nation’s fourth ranked pairing against the Trojans and are unbeaten in the first three matches. They did have to fight back from down 0-2 in their match against FSU back on February 4, and Thornqvist sees that as an area where all of his team can improve.

“The doubles part, we’re playing really well at the end,” Thornqvist said. “But we seem to have some issues with fundamental things in the first few games.”

The Gators would clinch their 150th straight home victory, which is currently the longest streak in Division I, with a win over the Bears. They also take on #20 Clemson Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

The men’s team will be looking for a bounce back performance Saturday against Furman after dropping their previous two matches against #15 Texas Tech and #8 USC, respectively. This meeting with the Paladins was not originally scheduled, but rather was added to slate after being rained out on January 31 against UCLA.

“This is the season that we’re on the road a lot,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “So it’ll be nice to have an extra match for our guys to get back out and compete at home.”

Catching up on rest and school have been the priorities for the Gators during this two week break, but the energy and excitement have not dropped off.

“The intensity is definitely there every day in practice, and that’s what I love about this team,” Shelton said. “They come out with enthusiasm and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work.”

However, the big news during this period has been the ascension of the Diego Hidalgo-Gordon Watson doubles pairing, who have vaulted to #1 in the nation after beginning the season 3-0. The duo defeated the previously top ranked Georgia pair back in fall, and took down the second ranked crew against Texas Tech.

Florida’s match against Furman begins at 4:00 p.m. at the Ring Tennis Complex.

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