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Senior Mike Alford clinched the match for UF on Saturday.

Saturday April 19, 2014Florida Takes Down Vanderbilt, Heads to 2014 SEC Tournament Championship Match

Nashville, Tenn.

Senior Mike Alford clinched the match for UF on Saturday.

The Florida men’s tennis team fought for over three hours and eventually brought down Vanderbilt, 4-2, on its home court of Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center this afternoon. The No. 4 seed Gators will advance to the SEC Tournament Finals for the first time since 2011.

 

UF took the lead early with dominant doubles play as freshmen Maxx Lipman and Elliott Orkin clinched the doubles point for their team. Lipman and Orkin quickly lifted the score to 3-0, Florida, with wins at Nos. 3 and 5 singles.

 

The match was far from over as Vanderbilt fought back with two two-set wins of their own on courts one and two to cut Florida’s lead, 3-2. It was senior Mike Alford who grinded out the three-set deciding match to allow the Gators to advance to tomorrow’s championship.

 

Fourth-seed Florida will take on No. 2 seed Texas A&M tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET for the 2014 SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament title.

 

Head Coach Bryan Shelton

On today’s win

“I think today’s match started just like the one against Vanderbilt a week ago: we got up one point in doubles and today we played well on all three courts in doubles. We put ourselves in a position to win all three and we were able to close it out very effectively. Then, singles started and our freshmen really came up big. Maxx and Elliott both reversed matches where they lost last week and dominated their opponents today. We got the 3-0 lead, but it was far from over as Vanderbilt had leads at Nos. 1 and 2 singles.”

 

On senior Mike Alford

“I’m really proud of Mike. Once again, he came through for us. I really can’t tell you how many times in his career that he’s been the guy the ends up finishing those clutch matches. I think we can all learn something from him because when the challenge is the greatest, that seems to be when he thrives. I’m happy for him. I’m happy that he was able to step up and finish it out and give us a chance to win a championship.”

 

Senior Mike Alford

On his three-set clinching match

“I tried to stay calm and ended up just enjoying it. It was a lot of fun being out there; especially when I thought I was playing well and he [Ryan Smith] was playing well. I was just enjoying it and I really wanted to win.”

 

On how the team has to prepare for tomorrow’s championship match

“We have to get our bodies ready and we have to come out tomorrow and just enjoy it. We’re going to play a tough team – a team we’ve played before and we played them tight. We want to come out and play well. My freshman year when we won the SEC Tournament, I was injured, so I didn’t get to play. Now, being able to play, it’s exciting.”

 

No. 4 seed Florida 4, No. 8 seed Vanderbilt 2

DOUBLES

(1) No. 29 Florent Diep/Gordon Watson (UF) vs. No. 5 Gonzales Austin/Ryan Lipman (VU) 7-2, unfinished

(2) Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (UF) def. Rhys Johnson/Pen Binet (VU) 8-4*

(3) Mike Alford/Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Ryan Smith/Suresh Eswaran (VU) 8-4

Florida wins doubles point.

Order of finish: 3, 2*

 

SINGLES

(1) No. 59 Ryan Lipman (VU) def. No. 120 Florent Diep (UF) 6-2, 6-4

(2) No. 24 Gonzales Austin (VU) def. No. 99 Gordon Watson (UF) 6-3, 6-4

(3) Maxx Lipman (UF) def. Kris Yee (VU) 6-2, 6-0

(4) Diego Hidalgo (UF) vs. Rhys Johnson (VU) 6-3, 1-6, 1-2, unfinished

(5) No. 92 Elliott Orkin (UF) def. Suresh Eswaran (VU) 6-3, 6-3

(6) Mike Alford (UF) def. Ryan Smith (VU) 6-1, 2-6, 7-5*

Order of finish: 5, 3, 1, 2, 6*

 

Records: Florida 15-8 (8-4 SEC), Vanderbilt 16-10 (5-7 SEC)

 

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