This past weekend, the Florida Men’s Tennis team made the trek to Chicago for ITA National Team Indoor Championships. They received a tough draw — they had to play three teams ranked in the top 12 nationally. After losses to No. 2 Kentucky and No. 12 UNC on Friday and Saturday, they finished strong with a win over No. 10 Baylor.
Proud of the boys for finishing strong after a tough weekend. Seguimos! https://t.co/SgSNZwExh2
— willgrant (@0xwillgrant) February 19, 2023
Over the course of this young season, Florida has been one of the best teams at securing the doubles point in matches. For most of the first month, the Gators were on a streak, capturing the point in six straight matches. They held this streak going into ITA Indoor Nationals. However, the Gators dropped the doubles point in both of the matches they lost over the weekend. Both the Wildcats and the Tar Heels jumped out to a 1-0 lead early, which is big for the momentum of the match.
A bright spot in this disappointing statistic was that the Gators’ No. 1 doubles team was flawless. Axel Nefve and Will Grant looked unstoppable with a 3-0 record in doubles throughout the weekend.
International student Olek Orlikowski made a splash in his debut weekend. The freshman from Lódz, Poland, got penciled in to play the No. 6 singles slot against UNC and Baylor on Saturday and Sunday.
He won both his matches. against UNC, he crushed Peter Murphy, 6-1 6-2.
When squaring off against Ethan Muza of Baylor, he gave the Gators the deciding win to power them to a 4-2 team triumph.
A Quick Recap
Friday vs. No. 2 Kentucky
Despite Will Grant and Axel Nefve continuing their dominance in doubles, the Gators dropped the point to Kentucky.
In singles, the Wildcats quickly pounced to a 2-0 lead with Liam Draxl beating Axel Nefve 6-0 6-0 on court one.
Already down 0-2 with all momentum in favor of Kentucky, the Gators could not rally. Jonah Braswell fell next on court 3 with another straight-set loss. After Togan Tokac secured a win to prevent the shutout, Lukas Greif gave up the deciding point with his defeat on court 6.
Saturday vs. No. 12 UNC
The Gators began this match much like they had begun the match with Kentucky — with an uncharacteristic doubles loss.
After the loss, they showed signs of life, with straight-set wins from Olek Orlikowski and Will Grant giving them the edge, 2-1.
Axel Nefve then received his second singles loss of the weekend to even the score at 2-2. This proved to be the turning point for the Tar Heels, as they triumphed over Togan Tokac and Jonah Braswell to grab the 4-2 team victory.
Sunday vs. No. 10 Baylor
After two straight doubles defeats, it was a change of pace for Florida to snag the doubles point over Baylor.
Axel Nefve also turned his performance around, getting his first singles win of the weekend in straight-set fashion. 2-0 Gators.
The two teams then went match for match.
Jonah Braswell lost on court 3, 4-6 3-6. 2-1 UF.
Will Grant won on court 2, 7-6 7-5. 3-1 UF.
Togan Tokac fell on court 5, 6-1 5-7 3-6. 3-2 UF.
Orlikowski’s victory on court 6 finally secured the team win for Florida, 4-2.