Thursday March 1, 2012Men's Tennis Ready to Open Conference Schedule Against Tennessee and Georgia
The Florida menís tennis team has faced five top 15-ranked opponents thus far in a tough non-conference schedule, all in preparation for the difficult Southeastern Conference slate, which begins this weekend in Gainesville. The Gators will host No. 19 Tennessee on Friday at 5 p.m. and No. 6 Georgia on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.
Admission to all regular-season home tennis matches is free. Live scoring will be available online at GatorZone.com.
Florida (7-3, 0-0 SEC) is coming off a 7-0 win over USF on Tuesday after having more than a week off following the ITA National Indoors in Charlottesville, Va. After a sluggish start in doubles against the Bulls, the tandem of Billy Federhofer (North Miami, Fla.) and Nassim Slilam (Paris, France) clinched the doubles point for UF. In singles, all six players won in straight sets. Tripper Carleton (Naples, Fla.) sealed the victory for Florida with a 6-1, 6-2 win at the No. 2 position.
In the latest ITA rankings, the first set of computer-based rankings this season, Florida is ranked 10th in the nation. UF has two singles players in the top 75, as Bob van Overbeek (Boca Raton, Fla.) is ranked No. 51 while playing at No. 1 singles, and Spencer Newman (Miami, Fla.) is ranked 70th with a 23-6 overall record this season. All three Gator doubles teams are ranked in the top 50, with Federhofer and Slilam rated as the No. 8 pair in the nation. Carleton and Newman are ranked 18th, while Andrew Butz (Vero Beach, Fla.) and van Overbeek are ranked No. 43.
The Gators are 5-0 at home this season and 6-0 in outdoor matches. Both the Volunteers and the Bulldogs will be playing their first true road matches of the season.
Tennessee (7-6, 0-0) posted a 3-0 record last week at the annual Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala., defeating Clemson, Texas Tech and Boise State. Junior Edward Jones got back to winning ways as the Vols moved outdoors, posting three straight-set wins for Tennessee. Freshman Mikelis Libietis earned the first two top-40 wins of his career, beating No. 33 Gonzalo Escobar of Texas Tech and No. 34 James Meredith of Boise State.
The Vols are led by Libietis, who has a team-leading 14-5 record and is ranked No. 36 in the nation. He and Hunter Reese, ranked 17th as a doubles pair, improved their record to 14-4 with their fifth ranked win over the weekend.
Georgia (9-1, 0-0) returned from a week-long layoff to defeat Furman, 6-1, on Monday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. It was the outdoor opener for the Bulldogs. Georgia swept the doubles point and tacked on five singles victories, including the clincher from freshman Nathan Pasha at No. 6. Pasha has clinched the win in Georgia's last three victories.
The Bulldogs have five singles players in the latest rankings, led by Wil Spencer at No. 3 in the nation and Sadio Doumbia at No. 11 overall. Spencer teams with Garrett Brasseaux in doubles and the duo is currently ranked No. 7. Ignacio Taboada teams with Doumbia to form the 12th-ranked pair. UGA travels to South Carolina on Friday before heading to Gainesville for the match on Sunday.