UF roundup: No. 9 Florida makes quick work of South Alabama in ITA opener

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Special to the Sun

The ninth-ranked Florida men’s tennis team improved to 2-0 on the season with their 4-0 win over South Alabama in the opening round of Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend tournament Saturday.

The Gators wasted no time against South Alabama as they won the doubles point in less than a half-hour. At No. 3 doubles, Oliver Crawford and Chase Perez-Blanco sped through their match with a 6-0 win in just 18 minutes. A mere seven minutes later the Gators secured the doubles point at No. 1 doubles when the pair of Alfredo Perez and Johannes Ingildsen won 6-1.

The rapid pace continued for Florida in singles, as no match exceeded one hour and five minutes. The first match to be completed was at the No. 5 spot where Andy Andrade picked up his second singles win of the year with a 6-0, 6-1 decision. His match lasted just 51 minutes. The Gators second singles point came at the No. 6 spot where Perez-Blanco won 6-0, 6-2 in an hour and five minutes. Florida clinched the match at No. 3 where Oliver Crawford won 6-0, 6-1 in a mere 59 minutes.

Florida will be back on the Ring courts Sunday at 2 p.m. to compete in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Regional Championship. The Gators will play the winner of South Florida and Pepperdine for a chance to advance to next month’s ITA National Indoor Championship in Seattle, Wash.

Women’s tennis: The third-ranked Gators opened the 2018 dual match season the same way they ended last season, with a win. The defending national champion Florida women’s tennis team defeated the Cal State Fullerton Titans in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend tournament 4-0 at the Ring Tennis Complex. UF will play for the regional title at 8 a.m. Sunday.

The Gators, who won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Indoor National Championship a year ago, began their title defense with a dominant doubles performance. At No. 2 doubles, the pair of Josie Kuhlmanand McCartney Kessler got things started with an impressive 6-1 decision that put the Gators in the lead. The doubles point was clinched for Florida a few moments later when Anna Danilina and Victoria Emma, at No. 1, battled from an early deficit to win their match 6-4.

The Gators continued their aggressive play in singles, as Kuhlman and Porter each took their first set 6-0, while Danilina and Kessler took their first sets 6-1, and 6-2 respectively. Florida wasted no time in their second sets with Danillia being the first to finish by a score of 6-1, 6-3, giving the Gators a 2-0 lead in the match. After Porter won her match by a score of 6-0, 6-2, the Gators clinched minutes later when Kuhlman won 6-0, 6-3.

Indoor Track and Field: At Fayetteville, Ark., Florida closed the Razorback Invitational on a strong note.

Senior horizontal jumper KeAndre Bates seized the national lead in the triple jump, winning with a top mark of 16.48 meters (54 feet, 1 inch). Junior Yanis David won the triple jump.

Junior Sharrika Barnett crossed in 51.64 seconds, finishing third in a 400 meters race that featured the three fastest times in the nation this season.

“Overall, when you look at the performances this weekend, we did what we came here to do: get better,” UF coach Mike Holloway said. “We definitely did. We’re where we need to be. Pleased, but not satisfied.

“Obviously there are places we could be a little bit better, but if I were to give us a grade, we are a B-plus or so right now. But we’ve got to keep building, keep grinding and not rest on anything we did here this weekend. We’ve got great momentum. If we don’t keep our foot on the pedal, we’re going to find ourselves in big trouble.”

Women’s basketball: Florida (10-11, 2-6 SEC) plays host to No. 21 Georgia (18-2, 6-1) at the O’Connell Center at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Any fan with a gymnastics vs. Oklahoma ticket (Friday) or men’s basketball vs. Baylor ticket (Saturday) will receive free admission to the game.