ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 30 UCF men’s tennis team is set to take on the No. 28 Florida State Seminoles in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday at noon in Gainesville, Fla.
The Knights will participate in their second NCAA tournament in the last three seasons and their fifth overall in program history. UCF made it to the tournament in 2003, 2004, 2005 and in 2017. UCF is still searching for their first tournament win. They picked up their first ever points in the tournament in 2017 but were edged by Louisville 4-3. Prior to 2017, UCF was swept by the Gators in all three appearances.
To get their first NCAA tournament victory, the Knights will have to go through the Seminoles, who they defeated back in 2017 by a score of 4-1. FSU was eliminated from the ACC championship tournament by No. 5 Virigina, a team that UCF played well against earlier this season. The Seminoles have gone 4-10 against currently ranked top-50 Oracle/ITA teams with their best win coming against No. 33 California.
Going into the tournament, the Knights will look to lean on their hot hands. UCF has won nine straight doubles points, winning seven of their last nine matches. No. 18 Bogdan Pavel and Trey Hilderbrand have won nine consecutive matches at the top doubles spot while UCF’s No. 2 tandem of Gabriel Decamps and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi have won seven in a row.
In singles play, Mikhail Sokolovskiy and Grassi Mazzuchi have strung together their own winning streaks, with Sokolovskiy winning six straight in the sixth position and Grassi Mazzuchi winning five in a row in singles spot No. 5. The two are 8-2 and 6-1 over their last ten matches respectively.
FSU’s top doubles pair consisting of Alex Knaff and Aziz Dougaz sits at No. 82 in the Oracle/ITA doubles rankings. As for singles play, it appears No. 43 Decamps will go toe-to-toe with FSU’s top singles player who is also in the top 50 in singles. FSU’s No. 1 sits at No. 30 in the rankings as Lucas Pullain has made an eight spot leap this week.
Should both the Knights and Gators win their matches, the two would set up a rematch from earlier in the season. UCF hosted the Gators for the team’s first home match of 2019. The Knights fell in that one on a 6-1 decision.
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