Knights Come Up Short in Nebraska

Final Box

LINCOLN, Neb. – The UCF men's tennis fell short against Nebraska Sunday afternoon in Lincoln, 4-1. The Knights were in close ties throughout the match, with four courts going the distance and back-and-forth duels on courts one through three. "It was a tough one today," said head coach John Roddic. "We have a lot to work on and these guys are committed to improving."

The 48th-ranked tandem of Bogdan Pavel and Lleyton Cronje picked up their first doubles win of 2023 in a convincing 6-3 match. The duo has had three of their four ties go unfinished to start the season but found the winner against Nic Wiedenhorn and Shunya Maruyama on court one. The Knights couldn't persevere on courts two and three through as the Cornhuskers took the first point of the match.

UCF, looking for its first road win of the season, came out strong in the first set, with multiple Knights drawing an early advantage. Pavel continued his impressive play in singles, taking set one rather easily, 6-1, before completing the sweep in a close second set, 7-5. The win is Pavel's team-leading fourth of the season his best career start to a campaign after six matches. Yassine Dlimi was in a back-and-forth duel on court one, forcing a third set with a strong second, 6-3. Though his match went unfinished following the Cornhuskers clincher on court three.

Following his first doubles victory earlier in the day, Cronje looked for his second singles win of the season. He too dropped the first set, yet shifted momentum early in the second, taking the set, 6-3. Nebraska's Lars Johann was able to fend off the push from Cronje though, winning the third and giving the Cornhuskers the clinching point. Liam Branger who picked up his first collegiate win two days ago in Illinois was too locked in a three-set bout. Though, unlike Cronje and Dlimi, the Frenchman took the first set and dropped the second. The tie-on court five went unfinished though it was yet another strong showing from the freshman.

Luca Hotze, who slotted into court six this afternoon, dropped a close first set, 4-6, before being defeated by Wiedenhorn in the second. Mehdi Benchakroun couldn't get his serve going on four, losing to William Gleason in straight sets.

The Knights will look to regroup after dropping both matches this weekend, as they'll make the short trip down to Miami for a meeting with the Hurricanes next Friday.

Singles competition

1. Roni Hietaranta (NEB) vs. Yassine Dlimi (UCF) 6-4, 3-6, 3-2, unfinished

2. Bogdan Pavel (UCF) def. Shunya Maruyama (NEB) 6-1, 7-5

3. Lars Johann (NEB) def. Lleyton Cronje (UCF) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3

4. William Gleason (NEB) def. Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) 6-1, 6-1

5. Calvin Mueller (NEB) vs. Liam Branger (UCF) 4-6, 6-3, 3-0, unfinished

6. Nic Wiedenhorn (NEB) def. Luca Hotze (UCF) 6-4, 6-1

Doubles competition

1. #48 Bogdan Pavel/Lleyton Cronje (UCF) def. Nic Wiedenhorn/Shunya Maruyama (NEB) 6-3

2. William Gleason/Calvin Mueller (NEB) def. Yassine Dlimi/Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) 6-3

3. Roni Hietaranta/Lars Johann (NEB) def. Luca Hotze/Liam Branger (UCF) 6-3

Follow UCF Men's Tennis on social media on Facebook (/UCF.MTennis), Twitter (UCF_MTennis) and Instagram (UCF.MTennis).

Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone. The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news. Click here to download the app now.