UF men roll past UNF in NCAA men's tennis

Florida's No. 1 singles player Diego Hidalgo returns a shot Saturday against North Florida's Jack Findel-Hawkins during the first round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship at the Ring Tennis Complex.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 6:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 6:58 p.m.

The Florida men's tennis team moved on to the second round of the NCAA Championships with a 4-0 win Saturday over North Florida at Scott Linder Stadium.

The Gators (19-6) took the doubles point with a 6-2 win by seniors Diego Hidalgo-Gordon Watson at No. 1 over UNF's Jack Findel-Hawkins-Yannick Zuern and at No. 2 with a 6-3 win by Maxx Lipman-Elliott Orkin over Zach Goldberg-Lasse Muscheites to go up 1-0.

UF followed up with singles wins at No. 6 from freshman McClain Kessler and at No. 5 from Watson before freshman Alfredo Perez clinched the match with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Muscheites at No. 4.

“I'm really proud of our guys today,” said volunteer assistant coach Scott Perelman, who spoke to the media as head coach Bryan Shelton was ill.

“We all thought that they played quite well, especially having a three-week break since our last match at the SECs. Every time we faced adversity today, I thought we met it head on. It was just a really good, sharp showing on our behalf.”

Watson, who won both of his matches, was pleased.

“I think it was a good showing by the entire team,” Watson said. “We came out today not looking for perfection, but to get through the matches and see where we were at. The whole team from one through three doubles and one through six singles played extremely well. We came out firing from the first ball.”

UF was ahead in the two of three suspended matches while the third was tied when play was stopped.

UNF finished the season 11-12 overall.

“The last couple of weeks has all been practicing with no matches to look forward to,” Perez said. “This week was a very intense week preparing ourselves to play a match. It took the first couple of games to get it back like we were playing before, but after that we started going for more and gaining more confidence.”

Today will be the last home match for both Hidalgo and Watson.

It should be a good one between the Gators and 16th-ranked South Florida, which defeated St. John's in Saturday's opener.

“Especially for not having competed against another team for three weeks, I thought our performance was very, very solid,” Perelman said. “It's something we can really build on.”

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