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Friday March 4, 2011No. 11 Men's Tennis Opens SEC Play With 6-1 Triumph Against LSU

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The 11th-ranked Florida men’s tennis team began Southeastern Conference play with a 6-1 win over LSU on an overcast, windy afternoon at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex on Friday. Florida improved to 8-3 (1-0 SEC) on the season while collecting a win in its fourth consecutive SEC opener, while the Tigers fell to 3-6 (0-1 SEC).

 

 “We played well in the doubles which is something we wanted to do,” head coach Andy Jackson said. “I felt that when I took Bob (van Overbeek) out – he had a little bit of a fever – the other guys stepped up. We got an SEC point and we are excited about that.”

 

UF earned the doubles point and prevailed in all three matches. The tandem of Nassim Slilam (Paris, France) and Billy Federhofer (North Miami, Fla.) were off the court first, recording an 8-2 win and seven minutes later, Bob van Overbeek (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Andrew Butz (Vero Beach, Fla.) clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory. Alexandre Lacroix (Paris, France) and Sekou Bangoura Jr. (Bradenton, Fla.) completed the sweep with an 8-6 triumph over 17th-ranked Neal Skupski and Sebastian Carlsson in their first match playing together. With the win, Lacroix needs just one more doubles win to tie Florida’s all-time leader Nathan Overholser, who was a part of 93 doubles wins.

 

“In doubles, Alex and I practiced for the last four or five days together,” Bangoura said. “It’s the first match we have played together and I think we played pretty well. We hadn’t played a competitive match in 10 days so the key was to come out with intensity, take it one point at a time and play our way into the match.”

 

Slilam moved to 9-1 in dual singles matches this spring with a tidy 6-2, 6-1 win over Stefan Szacinski that gave Florida a 2-0 lead. Bangoura was the second to finish as he brought the Gators within one point of claiming the match by topping Olivier Borsos 6-3, 6-2 on court two.

 

“There were tough conditions today because it was very windy,” Bangoura added. “The key was to not overplay. Just play solid and adjust to the wind.”

 

Lacroix sealed victory by defeating No. 69 Neal Skupski for the second time in his career, 6-2, 7-5. Spencer Newman (Miami, Fla.) dropped a 4-6, 4-6 decision on court six while Federhofer and Butz both outlasted their opponents in 10-point tiebreakers, 10-6 and 10-7 respectively after splitting the first two sets.

 

Florida continues its SEC slate with a home tilt against Arkansas on Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

 

#11 Florida vs. LSU

Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex

Gainesville, Fla.

March 4, 2011

 

Doubles

1 – Lacroix/Bangoura(UF) def. (17) Skupski/Carlsson (LSU) – 8-6 (1:02)

2 – *van Overbeek/Butz (UF) def. Borsos/Knights (LSU) – 8-5 (0:59)

3 – Slilam/Federhofer (UF) def. Anderson/Szacinski (LSU)—8-2 (0:52)

Order of Finish: 3-2-1

 

Singles

1 – *(6) Alexandre Lacroix (UF) def. (69) Neal Skupski (LSU) – 6-2, 7-5 (1:41)

2 – (28) Sekou Bangoura Jr. (UF) def. Olivier Borsos (LSU) – 6-3, 6-2 (1:24)

3 – (125) Nassim Slilam (UF) def. Stefan Szacinski (LSU) – 6-2, 6-1 (1:06)

4 – Billy Federhofer (UF) def. Mark Bowtell (LSU) – 7-5, 6-7, (10-6) (2:26)

5 – Andrew Butz (UF) def. Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) – 7-6, 5-7,(10-7) (2:11)

6 – Julien Gauthier (LSU) def. Spencer Newman (UF) – 6-4, 6-4 (1:50)

Order of Finish: 3-2-1-6-5-4

 

*Clinching victory

 

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