ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 49 UCF men’s tennis team was edged by the defending National Champions No. 2 Wake Forest by a score of 4-3.
“We played really good doubles today. We lost a set here or there but in general we’ve been strong in doubles all season and today was no exception,” said Director of Tennis John Roddick, “That really set the tone for us to be able to compete in that match. We went out and won some first sets which put us in a position that we wanted to be in; taking the national champions and the No. 2 team in the country down to the last match. For our team, it shows that we are really making strides and compete at the highest level. Our guys should grow from that, matches like that prove that you belong.”
Doubles play began with Wake Forest taking court three as Julian Zlobinsky and Siddhant Banthia overtook Mikhail Sokolovskiy and Alan Rubio 6-3. UCF struck back on court one where Trey Hilderbrand and Bogdan Pavel bested No. 35 Petros Chrysochos and Bar Botzer 6-2. That marked the first win over a ranked opponent for Hilderbrand and Pavel who are now 7-3 on the season at the top doubles spot. With the doubles point hanging in the balance of court two, Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi and Gabriel Decamps pulled through to win 6-2 over Alan Gadjiev and Melios Efstathiou.
Singles play was tightly contested. Each team grabbed three first sets, setting up a neck-in-neck battle for the remainder of the match.
The first court to finish was court one, where No. 2 Chrysochos topped No. 18 Decamps 6-3, 6-3. Wake Forest grabbed court six next as Banthia defeated Sokolovskiy 6-3.
UCF tied the match at 2-2 when Hilderbrand picked up a win on court six over Yuval Solomon by a score of 6-3, 7-5. Hilderbrand has now won five consecutive matches and is 4-0 at the No. 5 position.
Wake Forest pulled ahead in the match once more when No. 60 Efstathiou edged Grassi Mazzuchi 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 on court four.
Court three went the way of the Knights as Pavel took Rrezart Cungu to a third set before he ultimately won the match 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
With the score locked up at 3-3, the fate of the match lay on court two, where No. 122 Rubio was battling hard in a third set against No. 21 Botzer. Rubio was in the same situation against No. 36 Penn State and pulled through to win the match. The story was not the same in this one, as Rubio was defeated by Botzer 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-3.
The Knights have another tough test ahead of them as No. 4 Virginia visits the UCF Collegiate Tennis Center at the USTA National Campus on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
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