Knights Battle Hard Against Ranked Florida

ORLANDO – The UCF men's tennis team kept a close match with the 17th-ranked Florida Gators Saturday evening at the USTA National Campus, but fell 6-1 in a back-and-forth group of matchups. The season opener went almost three hours with four of the six courts going three sets.
"We fought very hard and played at a high level," said UCF head coach John Roddick. "I know the score doesn't indicate how close the match actually was, but the guys played well and that was fun to watch."

Three Knights made their dual match debuts, with Frenchman Paul Colin making his first-ever appearance for UCF. The trio all gave exciting introductions, as Mehdi Benchakroun battled back after dropping the first set 2-6, reversing the score in the second and forcing a third. The freshman couldn't find the winner though, falling 6-4. He gave the fans a fitting welcome, going toe-to-toe with Florida's Jonah Braswell, the second-highest ranked player on the team in the ITA rankings.
Senior Bogdan Pavel was outstanding once again, fighting back from a tough first set defeat, 5-7, to take the second and third sets from Will Grant 6-2, 6-4 to win his match. His serve was fantastic throughout the evening, giving him a constant advantage. On the overall match, Pavel said "We came out there with a proper mindset even though we went down, we had three courts go three sets and overall, I'm just happy and proud of the boys for our fight."
On court one, Lleyton Cronje was one of two Knights to take the first set. Facing Notre Dame transfer Axel Nefve, the two played a thrilling three sets, with Nefve finding the upper hand later on, though still a solid performance from Cronje to start the new campaign. Quinn Snyder, who also won the first set, fell 7-5 in a tight-nit third set against Lukas Greif. The aforementioned Colin kept it close with Tanapatt Nirudorn in the second but came up short in the tie-break, 7-6 (4). Luca Hotze was defeated in straight sets by Togan Tokac, though battled throughout, yet another newcomer that will look to impress throughout the season.
The Black and Gold dropped the doubles point, with Hotze/Colin and Benchakroun/Cooper White falling 6-0, 6-1. The 28th-ranked doubles pairing of Cronje and Pavel were besting the Florida duo of Grant and Nefve, 5-4 before the doubles point was clinched and the match went unfinished. Pavel is nearing the program record in doubles wins with 63.
UCF won't have long to dwell, as the squad is back in action on Sunday at 2 p.m. for a meeting with Georgia Southern. The Knights will look to grab their first victory of the season before heading to the ITA Kickoff Weekend at Ohio State.
Singles Results
1. Axel Nefve (UF) def. Lleyton Cronje (UCF) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
 2. Bogdan Pavel (UCF) def. Will Grant (UF) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
 3. #93 Jonah Braswell (UF) def. Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 
4. Lukas Greif (UF) def. Quinn Snyder (UCF) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
 5. Togan Tokac (UF) def. Luca Hotze (UCF) 6-3, 6-2
 6. Tanapatt Nirundorn (UF) def. Paul Colin (UCF) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) 
Doubles Results
1. # 28 Bogdan Pavel/Lleyton Cronje (UCF) vs. Will Grant/Axel Nefve (UF) 5-4, unfinished
 2. #10 Tanapatt Nirundorn/Togan Tokac (UF) def. Luca Hotze/Paul Colin (UCF) 6-0
 3. #43 Jonah Braswell/Lukas Greif (UF) def. Mehdi Benchakroun/Cooper White (UCF) 6-1 

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