TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The doubles point proved to be a major factor in the No. 16 University of Alabama men’s tennis team’s 5-2 win over No. 15 Florida at the UA Varsity Courts. This is the first Tide victory over Florida since 2001.
“This was an outstanding win for our program and certainly gives us another chance to reach our goals,” said Alabama head coach Billy Pate. “Florida is such a great program and I have a lot of respect for Coach Jackson. We knew it would be a tough match that would come down to the middle of the singles lineup.”
Alabama started off strong by jumping out to a commanding lead in doubles on courts two and three. Both Tide tandems cruised by their opponents, giving Alabama a 1-0 lead heading into singles competition.
The No. 2 pair of Joseph Jung and Saketh Myneni defeated Florida’s Daniel Cash and Billy Mulligan, 8-3, to pick up the Tide’s first win. Sammy Struyf and Javier Bes clinched the point for Alabama, beating Nestor Briceno and Geoffrey Barton, 8-3, at the No. 3 slot.
The Tide’s Myneni extended the lead to 2-0 with a quick victory over Florida’s Geoffrey Barton. Two consecutive wins put the Gators back into the match at 2-2, but they did not score another point as Mertz, Bes and Mathieu Thibaudeau downed their opponents to finish the match.
Bes clinched the match for the Tide at the No. 4 slot, defeating Jordan Dolberg 7-6, 6-4.
“I am really proud of the way Javier pulled through for the team. I think by Billy (Mertz) winning the second set it really took some pressure off Javier and gave him a chance to finish his match.”
With the win, Alabama improves to 14-5, 4-3 in the SEC and Florida falls to 9-5, 4-3 in the SEC.
“Today’s match was a good team effort because I thought we played well from top to bottom starting with doubles.”
The Tide continues conference action on Sunday at 1:00 pm as No. 58 South Carolina travels to Tuscaloosa. Live stats will be available through www.rolltide.com and admission is free.
#16 Alabama 5, #15 Florida 2
UA Varsity Courts
Time: 2 hrs. 55 min.
1. No. 4 Jesse Levine (UF) def. No. 89 Joseph Jung (UA) 6-3, 6-2
2. No. 16 Greg Ouellette (UF) def. Sammy Struyf (UA) 7-6 (2), 6-2
3. Billy Mertz (UA) def. Nestor Briceno (UF) 3-6, 7-6, 2-0
4. Javier Bes (UA) def. Jordan Dolberg (UF) 7-6 (4), 6-4
5. No. 121 Mathieu Thibaudeau (UA) def. Daniel Cash (UF) 6-3, 7-5
6. Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Geoffrey Barton (UF) 6-1, 6-3
1. No. 6 Jesse Levine/Greg Ouellette (UF) def. No. 28 Dan Buikema/Mathieu Thibaudeau 8-6
2. Joseph Jung/Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Daniel Cash/Billy Mulligan (UF) 8-3
3. Javier Bes/Sammy Struyf (UA) def. Nestor Briceno/Geoffrey Barton (UF) 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3*,1); Singles (6,1,2,5,4*,3)