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Sunday May 13, 2012No. 12 Florida men's tennis defeats Harvard, 4-0; Advances to Round of 16 of NCAA Championship

Gainesville, Fla.

The No. 12 University of Florida men’s tennis team advanced to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championship for the third year in a row on Sunday, defeating No. 24 Harvard, 4-0, at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The University of Georgia will host the remainder of the event and the Gators will face fifth-seeded Ohio State in Athens, Ga., next Friday, May 18, at noon.

 

“It was a tough match because Harvard is good, Harvard is top-25 and they have a lot of confidence,” said head coach Andy Jackson. “To our credit, we showed some toughness and consistency and that can scare some people in Athens when they see us do that.”

 

The doubles action started off very tight on all three courts, and the two teams split the matches on courts one and three. The Crimson’s Alistair Felton and Casey MacMaster got things started with an 8-5 win on court one over Florida’s Tripper Carleton and Nassim Slilam. The Gators responded with a win at No. 3 doubles, as Michael Alford and Florent Diep beat Andy Nguyen and Denis Nguyen, 8-2.

 

On court two, Harvard’s duo of Jon Pearlman and Christo Schultz went up a break against UF’s Spencer Newman and Bob van Overbeek, but the Florida pair got the match back on serve at 6-6 with a break of their own. Pearlman and Schultz responded with another break to go up 7-6, but the Gators fought back and won the final three games to secure the doubles point with a 9-7 victory.

 

After gaining the momentum from doubles, Florida was able to control the match with a pair of early points from Diep and Slilam. Diep defeated Harvard’s Alex Steinroeder, 6-1, 6-4, on court five and shortly after Slilam closed out Schultz, 6-2, 6-3, to give UF a 3-0 lead in the match.

 

At No. 4 singles, Newman used a boost from the crowd to pull out the first set against Shaun Chuadhuri and then continued his solid play in the second set, winning 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the victory and UF’s trip to Athens for the next round.

 

Ohio State, who defeated Notre Dame 4-0 on Sunday afternoon, is 33-3 on the season and is ranked fifth in the latest ITA Rankings. Complete information for the tournament in Athens can be found on the University of Georgia’s athletic website.

 

 

NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships Second Round

No. 12-seed Florida vs. Harvard

Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex

Gainesville, Fla.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

 

Final Score: Florida 4, Harvard 0

 

Doubles (order of finish: 1, 3, 2*)

1. Felton/MacMaster (Harvard) def. Carleton/Slilam (UF), 8-5

2. *#66 Newman/van Overbeek (UF) def. Pearlman/Schultz (Harvard), 9-7

3. Alford/Diep (UF) def. A. Nguyen/D. Nguyen (Harvard), 8-2

 

Singles (order of finish: 5, 3, 4*)

1. #42 Bob van Overbeek (UF) v. Jonathan Pearlman (Harvard), 6-7 (4), 3-1 DNF

2. #48 Tripper Carleton (UF) led Denis Nguyen (Harvard), 6-3, 3-2 DNF

3. #53 Nassim Slilam (UF) def. Christo Schultz (Harvard), 6-2, 6-3

4. #66 Spencer Newman (UF) def. Shaun Chuadhuri (Harvard), 6-4, 6-2

5. Florent Diep (UF) def. Alex Steinroeder (Harvard), 6-1, 6-4

6. Andrew Butz (UF) v. Andy Nguyen (Harvard), 4-6, 6-4 DNF

 

Updated Records: Florida 16-9; Harvard 23-3

NCAA Seeding: Florida 12; Harvard 17-32

ITA National Ranking: Florida 12; Harvard 24

 

 

Florida Head Coach Andy Jackson

Opening Statement…

“Two of our main goals for the year are to host regionals and then be able to go to the Sweet 16. So we’re excited to be playing [Ohio State] and we know that we can compete with anybody because we’ve kind of done it this year. We showed some toughness and consistency that we haven’t always shown during the year and we can cause some problems if we continue to do that.”

 

On how it was a tight match despite the 4-0 score…

“It was a very tight match but Harvard is a top-25 team that’s only lost twice. Even though we feel like we’re better, they might have a little bit more confidence than us because they haven’t lost very much where we know we can lose because we’ve lost sometimes, but we’ve only lost to the very top. It was a tough match because Harvard is good, Harvard is top-25 and they have a lot of confidence. To our credit, we showed some toughness and consistency and that can scare some people in Athens when they see us do that.”

 

On winning the doubles point…

“It was big because it put them under a lot of pressure. I honestly believe that if we kept our composure we still would have won having lost the doubles. We have been working a lot on doubles. We changed a lot in the doubles and I was proud to see Spencer and Bob turn that one without reverting back to the way they played before and kind of get the reward that they deserved and that our team deserved. I was very pleased to see that.”

 

On Spencer Newman’s play…

“Spencer was great in singles and doubles. He wasn’t feeling that great physically which actually helped him because he had to use his head a little bit more. Then Nasim and Flo winning so easy helped. Nasim two days in a row, on his real senior day, was a huge factor in the match because it enabled Spencer to relax and Andrew to relax and Bob and Trip to relax because we feel like we’re going to win the match when we win those matches so quick like Nas and Flo did.”

 

 On how the match helped prepare them for the Sweet 16…

“We played a top-25 team and you don’t always play a top-25 team, even in the round of 16, especially if you’re top-8. It shows our guys that if we are tougher and a little bit more consistent that we can beat anybody. We can beat anybody and our goals going forward are to try to get to the quarters and try and win the tournament.”

 

On how the team played…

“I didn’t think we played particularly well today. I thought we played ok but I thought that we were very tough and consistent. The good play is going to come if we do those two things.”

 

 

Spencer Newman

Opening statement…

“That was probably the most fun that I’ve had here. To rally down a couple of match points in the doubles to save the point and then come back in singles to clinch the whole match, what more can you ask for.”

 

On his play at the net…

“That’s fun. Really little time to react and you’ve got to do almost second hand almost without thinking.”

 

On going forward…

“Going into Athens for the second time for me and I’m going to try and make something better happen this time.”

 

On playing Ohio State…

“It’s something new for me since I haven’t played against them but I’m going to take the challenge as it comes.”

 

On the confidence of the team…

“We’re growing. That’s all that you can ask for. We’re growing.”

 

On making it to Athens for the Round of 16…

“It’s the legend of playing NCAAs at Athens. It’s all I’ve heard growing up is that place is the place where magic happens and I can’t wait.”

 

On the crowd…

“It definitely helped. I wasn’t feeling that great in my singles match, I used a lot of energy in my doubles match. It was tough physically so they got me going and kept me in there every single point. The games that I was down they were able to get me back and that was huge.”

 

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