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Gators Men’s Tennis Drops Heartbreaker to Tennessee

The number 20 Gator mMen’s tennis team suffered an agonizing defeat to the number 9 Tennessee Volunteers Friday night. Impressive wins by the Gators at courts one and six put Florida in position to take the match, but they came up just short.

Starting Strong

A warm evening in Gainesville saw the Gators come out hungry in front of their SEC foes. On court three, Jonah Braswell and Lukas Grief quickly dispatched Angel Diaz and Martim Prata. The pair converted multiple breaks to take the match 6-1.

Shortly after, Nate Bonetto and Tanapatt Nirundorn would get there first ranked win as a doubles pairing. After a big hold at 2-2 deuce, the pair converted a break to go up 4-3. They would hold on to that break for a 6-4 victory over number 44 Emile Hudd and Shunsuke Mitsui.

Just short in Singles

The Orange and Blue kept its momentum going into singles by taking first sets on three courts. However, the Volunteers would quickly respond. Former Gator Blaise Bicknell defeated Jonah Braswell on court three 6-3, 6-3 to even the dual match score. Another straight set victory came for Tennessee when Nate Bonetto was defeated by Angel Diaz 6-2, 6-4.

In just his second SEC match of the season, Tanapatt Nirundorn would come up big for the Gators. The freshman benefited from his smooth volleys and converted a late break in the first set to take it 6-4. After finding himself down 2-1 early, Nirundorn reeled off five straight games for the victory in straight sets.

Axel Nefve showed out in one of the toughest matches of his career against the No.2 player in the country Johannus Monday. The Notre Dame transfer secured the first set after a break at 6-5. Nefve got off on the wrong foot in the second set and Monday started it with a huge break. Nefve responded with a break of his own and the second set was underway. After going down 4-1, Monday battled back to 4-3, but had a pivotal double fault that saw him go down another break at 5-3. Nefve would serve out the set for the 7-5, 6-3 victory.

With the match at 3-3, it would come down to No.92 Will Grant and #44 Emile Hudd on court two. The pair split the first two sets and it would come down to a deciding third. Grant had a chance for a break at 3-4 deuce, but couldn’t convert and fell in the match 6-2, 3-6, 3-6.

Up Next

Florida will face another tough test when they take on number seven Georgia on Easter Sunday. The Bulldogs are coming off of a 4-0 win over number five South Carolina.

About Jake Bower

Sophomore journalism major at the University of Florida.

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