Sunday May 11, 2014Florida Rides into NCAA Round of 16
Senior Flo Diep fought back from a first-set deficit to decide the match for UF.
By taking down in-state foe South Florida 4-0 this afternoon, the Florida men’s tennis team has earned a spot in the NCAA Round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.
Freshman duo Maxx Lipman and Elliott Orkin fired back from a 6-3 deficit to USF’s Oliver Pramming and Ignacio Gonzalez to force a tiebreak at No. 2 doubles. The Gator freshmen went on to dominate the tiebreaker and win the first doubles match 8-7 (2). On court three, senior Mike Alford and sophomore Diego Hidalgo commanded the match and grabbed the doubles point for UF with an 8-4 victory.
Immediately following doubles, weather caused an almost three-hour delay, eventually forcing the match indoors for singles play. Lipman delivered early with a two-set win at No. 3, followed by sophomore Gordon Watson with a three-set defeat of USF’s Oliver Pramming to lift the Gators, 3-0.
Overcoming a first-set deficit, it was Gators’ senior Florent Diep who decided the match by defeating USF’s 47th-ranked Roberto Cid in just under three hours of play.
Florida will face No. 3 seed Ohio State on Friday at 7 p.m. in the NCAA Round of 16 in Athens, Georgia.
Head Coach Bryan Shelton
“I’m just really happy with our guys today. I thought South Florida came out and played great tennis. They have an amazing, competitive team that doesn’t quit and they are really fit as well. It was a long day today, but our guys were up to the challenge. We started the doubles, even though we got down at break at No. 2 doubles, we bounced back and were actually able to be the catalyst there at No. 2 doubles to get the first doubles win and then at No. 3 doubles, Diego and Mike were able to clinch it. I felt like we did a great job even with the rain delay to come back in singles after winning the doubles point and really establish some good things out there. Just like I said, I’m really proud of our team. Mark Merklein has done an amazing job getting these guys physically prepared to play. It showed today, just how well we moved, our endurance and just how strong we were in the long points and the long matches. I just can’t give him enough credit for getting these guys ready to play.”
On advancing to Athens
“It feels unbelievable. To see these guys and see the work that they’ve put in and see them rewarded for their hard work … It’s a tough lesson sometimes to learn, but it is nice when you do get the reward. It’s validation for all the hard work that you put in. We have a special group here. The young guys who have joined this team have really contributed in a huge way and the seniors, like I keep talking about every week, have really led the way.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of this group to have the opportunity to move on to the round of 16. My first time here at Florida is special; it will certainly be a year that I will never forget.”
Senior Florent Diep
On finishing with a win in his last home match
“I knew it was my last home match, and I was really excited about it. The first two sets were kind of frustrating for me. I didn’t feel great, but I kept fighting and I was having fun even though I was a little frustrated. … I was feeling great in the third set, and I told Mark [Merklein] I was ready for another one.”
On playing after a long rain delay
“It’s tough to stay focused and prepare the right way, but once we knew it was 6 p.m. indoor, we were ready to go.”
Freshman Maxx Lipman
On rallying to win doubles
“We got off to a tough start, and they were serving very well at the beginning. They got on us early and got up a break. We just had to stay to our game plan, and we were confident we would get a chance to break back. We got that chance, and we took it and never looked back from there. We started playing very confidently and started returning really well. When it came down to 7-all, crunch time in the tiebreaker, we just went for our shots.”
On getting the first singles win
“Singles was really good. It was tough after the rain delay, but I had played him [USF’s Sasha Gozun] a couple times before and we had tough matches both times. I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to execute very early on. Playing against a big server, I knew I needed to return well and I did that exceptionally today. Coach reminded me a few times with a quick game plans and tips as I went along, and it never failed me. It helped every time.”
No. 14 seed Florida 4, South Florida 0
(1) No. 20 Florent Diep/Gordon Watson (UF) vs. No. 45 Robert Cid/Sasha Gozun (USF) 6-7, unfinished
(2) Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (UF) def. Oliver Pramming/Ignacio Gonzalez (USF) 8-7 (2) [:49]
(3) Mike Alford/Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Vadym Kalyuzhnyy/Everth Dzib (USF) 8-4 [:54]*
Florida wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 2, 3*
(1) No. 51 Florent Diep (UF) def. No. 47 Robert Cid (USF) 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 [2:56]*
(2) No. 108 Gordon Watson (UF) def. Oliver Pramming (USF) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 [2:11]
(3) Maxx Lipman (UF) def. Sasha Gozun (USF) 6-4, 6-2 [1:31]
(4) Diego Hidalgo (UF) vs. Vadym Kalyuzhnyy (USF) 6-2, 3-3, unfinished
(5) No. 98 Elliott Orkin (UF) vs. Ignacio Gonzalez (USF) 6-3, 0-1, unfinished
(6) Mike Alford (UF) vs. Federico Sabogal (USF) 0-0, unfinished
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1*
Records: Florida 17-9, South Florida 19-7
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