ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 42 UCF men’s tennis team fell short against #13 Illinois by a score of 4-2 on Friday afternoon.
“We played great doubles again today, I’ve been really pleased with our play there so far,” said Director of Tennis John Roddick, “It’s given us a chance in our matches. In singles today I think we made some fundamental errors. We needed to do a better job of exploiting weaknesses that we found.”
Doubles play began with UCF taking early leads on all courts. The Knights would strike first in as Gabriel Decamps and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi topped Zeke Clark and Keenan Mayo 6-2 on court two. Illinois would bounce back and take court three as Gui Gomes and Caleb Chakravarthi beat Manoel Alencar and Mikhail Sokolovskiy 6-3. The doubles point would come down to court one where No. 54 Bogdan Pavel and Trey Hilderbrand were battling against Alex Brown and Aleks Kovacevic. The doubles point would be decided in a tiebreaker, where Pavel and Hilderbrand pulled through 7-6 (7-4).
Illinois would get a point back by winning on court six as the first singles match to finish. Noe Khlif overtook Sokolovskiy 6-3, 6-3 to tie the match at 1-1.
The Knights would pull back into the lead as Hilderbrand was victorious on court four. He defeated Siphosothando Montsi in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
After that, Illinois came raging back. Court five went the way of Illinois as Mayo topped Grassi Mazzuchi 0-6, 6-3, 6-3. Court one fell next as No. 14 Kovacevic beat No. 38 Decamps 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
With the match at 3-2, the remaining two courts were tight. UCF was trying to come from behind in the third set on both courts. The match was there for the taking on both sides, but in the end court two went to Illinois as No. 31 Brown edged Alan Rubio 7-6 (7-4), 0-6, 6-4.
The only other court left unfinished was court three where Pavel and Clark will remain neck-in-neck in the box score. After dropping the first set, Pavel was on a comeback trail until the match ended their duel at 3-6, 6-4, 5-5.
The Knights will take on FAU March 31 at the UCF Collegiate Tennis Center at the USTA National Campus at 6 p.m.
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