Gators Finding Success in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Individual Championship

Florida’s Sam Riffice and Ben Shelton continue their dominant performances in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Individual Championship. After combining for three wins Tuesday, they look to build on their victories in the Round of 16.

Sam Riffice

Senior captain of the Gators Men’s Tennis team Sam Riffice came into the tournament ranked 28th. He had a 23-6 overall singles record and a 19-8 overall doubles record this season. Over his four-year tenure at Florida, he accumulated a 97-28 overall singles record and a 77-27 overall doubles record.

In the Round of 64, Riffice took on Ohio State junior Cannon Kingsley, who came in ranked ninth nationally. Riffice took the first set with a score of 7-5. He would then win the next set 6-2 to bring him to the next round.

On Tuesday, Riffice took on Duke junior Garrett Johns, ranked 49th nationally. Like in the first round, Riffice took the first set 7-5. However, Johns was able to tie it up with one set a piece, taking the second set 6-4. Riffice was able to come back to finish things off, taking the third set with a score of 7-5.

Riffice then faced LSU sophomore Ronnie Hohmann Wednesday. He only needed two sets to advance, taking the first one 6-4 and the second one 6-3.

Ben Shelton

Sophomore Ben Shelton came into the tournament as the second ranked tennis player in the nation. This season, Shelton recorded a 34-5 overall singles record and a 23-10 overall doubles record.

Shelton started out the tournament with a matchup against Michigan junior Ondrej Styler. The Czechia native ranked 27th nationally. Shelton was able to advance over Styler in two sets, taking the first one 7-5 and the second one 6-2.

In the Round of 32, Shelton took on Notre Dame senior Axel Nefve. Nefve ranked 57th in the nation and will be transferring to Florida for the fall semester. Nefve put up more of a fight, forcing the two to decide the matchup in a tie-breaker. Shelton would win the tie breaker 7-6 to advance to the next round.

On Wednesday, Shelton faced off against Ohio State Buckeye sophomore JJ Tracy. Shelton would take two sets with a score of 6-4 each to advance.

Doubles Tennis Matches

The two Gators also found success in their doubles matches.

On Tuesday, the pair defeated Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi and Matias Soto from Baylor. The Gators took them down in two sets, winning the first one 6-4 and the second one 6-3.

Riffice and Shelton advance to the Round of 16, where they will take on Justin Boulais and James Trotter from Ohio State.

About Aileyahu Shanes

Journalism student at the University of Florida. Contributor for WRUF and WUFT. You can reach Aileyahu at or 786-316-5878.

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