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Thursday May 9, 2013Florida Men's Tennis Set to Open 2013 NCAA Tournament Friday at 4 p.m.

Gainesville, Fla.

The Florida men’s tennis team is set to open play in the 2013 NCAA Tennis Championships this weekend, facing Denver in the opening round on Friday at 4 p.m. at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The Gators will be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd year in a row and are hosting the first and second rounds for the sixth-straight year.

 

“Us hosting was in doubt for a large portion of the spring season,” said head coach Bryan Shelton. “With our schedule, we took some losses. The conference is just so strong from top to bottom. We have 13 teams in our conference, and 12 of those teams made the NCAA Tournament.”

 

“Our team really came through at the end of the season and we really finished on a positive note. We beat a lot of quality teams – some on the road. At the SEC Tournament, I thought we played extremely well, beating South Carolina who we lost to earlier [in the season]. We did some things to create the opportunity for ourselves [to host], and now we are able to benefit from playing at home. We’ve got to take advantage of it come Friday.”

 

The winner of Friday’s first round match between Florida (15-10, 7-5 SEC), the top seed in the regional and the 15th-seed nationally, and Denver (11-11) will advance to the second round to play the winner between 18th-ranked California (14-9) and No. 33 Florida State (18-10). Cal and FSU play on Friday at 1 p.m. Saturday’s second round match will be played at 4 p.m.

 

“I love this time of the year, getting to play in the NCAA Tournament,” said Shelton. “It’s nice the position that we’re in with finals behind us, we can really focus in on getting our bodies and minds ready to go play and compete and have fun. That’s what we want to do right now. It’s the time to let it all out and go for it. We’re physically and mentally ready to go after it this weekend.”

 

Denver earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament after the Pioneers claimed the WAC Championship. Cal earned an at-large bid after finishing tied for second in the Pac-12. Florida State also earned an at-large bid after finished tied for seventh in the ACC.

 

This will be the first-ever meeting between Florida and Denver, however, the Gators played both Cal and Florida State earlier this season. UF lost to Cal 4-1 at the ITA National Indoor Tournament in Washington back in February. Florida beat in-state rival Florida State 5-2 in Tallahassee early in the season.

 

“In a tournament, as any coach says, you’ve just got to win the first one,” said Shelton. “You don’t have to worry about everybody in the draw because you’re not going to have to play everybody. We’re focusing on Denver on Friday and getting through that match, hopefully getting a win so that we can have another opportunity on Saturday.

 

“Denver, on paper, I haven’t seen them play, but they look like a dangerous team. Talking to other coaches around the country, they say that they’re probably the very best No. 4-seed out there. Our guys have been preparing for that match. We don’t know a lot about them but we know it’s going to be a tough test. It’s good that we’re going in with our eyes wide open, understanding that we’ve got a very tough match.”

 

The Gators are one of eight SEC teams to host a regional on the men’s side, joined by third-seed Georgia, sixth-seed Ole Miss, seventh-seed Tennessee, eight-seed Kentucky, 10-seed Mississippi State, 12-seed Texas A&M and 16-seed Vanderbilt. Alabama, Auburn, LSU and South Carolina also made the field of 64.

 

Complete results and live scoring can be found online via GatorZone.com.

 

 

2013 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships

1st & 2nd Rounds, May 10-11

Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex

Gainesville, Fla.

 

Event Schedule

Fri, May 10

1:00 pm

California

vs. Florida State

Live Stats

Fri, May 10

4:00 pm

Florida

vs. Denver

Live Stats

Sat, May 11

4:00 pm

TBA

vs. TBA

Live Stats

 

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