The No. 19 Florida Gators men’s tennis team were defeated 5-2 by No. 18 Mississippi State Thursday afternoon. The rematch of the Gainesville region ITA Kickoff Weekend championship match saw the bulldogs even the season series at 1-1.
Final from Starkville.
Presented by @WellsFargo pic.twitter.com/6mAa6amvf9
— Gators Men's Tennis (@GatorsMTN) March 3, 2023
Florida Drops Doubles Point
After inclement weather brought both teams indoors, Mississippi State was able to secure the doubles point. Despite dropping the first doubles match after a loss on court two, Jonah Braswell and Lukas Grief won on court three. With all eyes on court one to decide the doubles point, the duo of #31 Will Grant and Axel Nefve failed to convert and the Bulldogs went up 1-0.
Gators Struggle In Singles
No. 83 Nate Bonetto was the first to fall after losing 6-2, 6-2 on court three to MSU’s No. 113 Carles Hernandez. Shortly after going down 2-0, Florida was able to make it 2-1. Junior Will Grant cruised through an easy first set and battled in a tiebreak to secure the second, defeating No. 107 Petar Jovanovic 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Lukas Grief was also defeated in straight sets on court five, but the Gators responded. After Grief’s 6-4, 6-3 loss, Olek Orlikowski finished out a battle on court six. A long first set saw him clinch it in a tiebreak, but the match looked to be heading to three sets. The freshman saw himself down 4-0 in the second set, but rallied back to send the set to a tiebreak. The Poland native would pull out the tiebreak and win 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1).
Jonah Braswell found himself in a three-setter, but was forced to retire due to injury. On court one, Notre Dame graduate transfer Axel Nefve also battled into a third set, but came up short in the end. Despite resiliency from the orange and blue, they came up short against Mississippi State on the indoor courts.
Next For Florida Men’s Tennis
The No. 19 Gators will continue SEC play on Saturday when they take on LSU.