March 14, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 32nd-ranked men's tennis team fell 6-1 to No. 7 Florida at Linder Stadium in the Ring Tennis Complex. With the loss, the Crimson Tide dips to 7-8 on the season and 1-3 against Southeastern Conference opponents, while the Gators improve to 12-2 overall and 4-0 in league play.
"Florida played a good match today, but I was also pleased with the way we competed," head coach Billy Pate said. "It was a close doubles point, and we had opportunities in the first sets of singles matches which we didn't convert. We're hitting the ball well and getting better each match, so I'm encouraged with the opportunities we have ahead."
Florida picked up the early point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, but it wouldn't come easily. The 16th-ranked pair of senior Antoine Benneteau and junior Alexandre Lacroix earned an 8-3 win on court one over Alabama senior Saketh Myneni and sophomore Michael Davis, however the matches on the other two courts came down to the wire. The Tide sophomore duo of Ricky Doverspike and Michael Davis was on serve with Gator freshman Sekou Bangoura Jr. and sophomore Joey Burkhardt right to the end until the Florida pair was able to score the final two points for the 9-7 win. On court three, Alabama junior Trey Walston and freshman Jarryd Botha came back from being down 6-3 to grab the Tide's lone win in doubles by a 9-7 decision over Florida senior Daniel Cash and freshman Bob Van Overbeek.
First off the courts in singles was the matchup at No. 3 where 121st-ranked Benneteau picked up a 6-4, 6-2 win over Botha to give the Gators the 2-0 lead. Doverspike gave Alabama its first point of the afternoon with a dominant 6-1, 6-4 victory over Burkhardt at the No. 2 spot. Florida's next win came on court four as Van Overbeek posted a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Thompson placing the Gators within one of the overall dual match victory. Florida clinched the match nearly 20 minutes later as Bengoura Jr. won 6-3, 6-3 over senior Houssam Yassine at No. 5.
The two teams attempted to play out the two matches still on court at No. 1 and No. 6, but the contest on court one was shortened as No. 38 Myneni retired handing sixth-ranked Lacroix a 6-4, 4-6, 3-3 win. Tide freshman Ian Chadwell was also in a third-set battle with Gator sophomore Nassim Slilam where the Alabama netter fell in a first set tiebreaker 7-3 to come back and take the second frame 6-3. It would be Slilam, however, that would win the third by a score of 6-3 for the victory at No. 6.
Alabama returns to action on Sunday, March 21 when it plays at Vanderbilt. First serve is slated for 1:00 p.m. (CST).
1. No. 16 Benneteau/Lacroix (UF) def. Davis/Myneni (UA) 8-3
2. No. 43 Bangoura Jr./Burkhardt (UF) def. Doverspike/Thompson (UA) 9-7
3. Botha/Walston (UA) def. Cash/Van Overbeek (UF) 9-7
Order of Finish: 1,2,3
1. No. 6 Alexandre Lacroix (UF) def. No. 38 Saketh Myneni (UA) 6-4, 4-6, 3-3, ret.
2. Ricky Doverspike (UA) def. Joey Burkhardt (UF) 6-1, 6-4
3. No. 121 Antoine Benneteau (UF) def. Jarryd Botha (UA) 6-4, 6-2
4. Bob Van Overbeek (UF) def. Michael Thompson (UA) 6-2, 6-4
5. Sekou Bangoura Jr. (UF) def. Houssam Yassine (UA) 6-3, 6-3
6. Nassim Slilam (UF) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3
Order of Finish: 3,2,4,5*,1,6