Knights Topped by No. 4 Ohio State in First Match of Home Stand


ORLANDO, Fla. – The UCF men's tennis was bested by one of the nation's best as fourth-ranked Ohio State took the first of a four-match homestand from the Knights, 0-4. After a contested doubles point, the Buckeyes clinched the match on court one after a late surge that saw Yassine Dlimi and Lleyton Cronje push courts one and two the distance.

"Second time playing them and I think we played much better tonight, the doubles point was tight and we did a good job pushing some courts to a third set in singles," said head coach John Roddick following the match. "You could really see the improvement in our team today from a month and a half ago."

Days after Bogdan Pavel solidified his place in the program's history with his 65th doubles win, he added his 66th alongside Cronje in the duo's best win of the season. Up against the nation's seventh-ranked tandem of Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter, Pavel and Cronje kept the energy throughout and eventually took court one, 6-3. Now with their fifth win of the season and second on the jump, the seniors are set to climb in next week's doubles rankings. On two and three, the Buckeyes were able to fend off a stiff Knights opposition as Paul Colin and Cooper White stayed close with Ohio State's Justin Boulais and Robert Cash. The duo wasn't able to pull it out, losing 4-6, which was followed by a Buckeyes win on court three to take the match's first point.

This being the first match the teams have faced each other outside this season, the Knights looked to gain some traction in singles. On courts one through three, the matches were highly contested. Against the 20th-ranked player in the nation and Ohio State standout JJ Tracy, Dlimi brushed off a tough first set, 3-6, to dominate the second, breaking serve twice en route to a 6-1 set win. Cronje moved his court two tie to the third set just seconds after Dlimi with a clutch set two victory, 6-3, over No. 39 ranked Cannon Kingsley. Though each went unfinished, it was a promising sign for the Knights. Mehdi Benchakroun was on the verge of a massive second-set victory after dropping the first, 4-6. Up, 3-2, the Moroccan was just starting to take control of his match before it too went unfinished.

Pavel battled till the last point on court one with No. 58 Justin Boulais, though wasn't able to force the third set, losing, 2-6, 4-6. Liam Branger and Francisco Llanes were both defeated in two sets by No. 52 Alexander Bernard and Jack Anthrop.

The Knights will have no time to dwell as their tough schedule gets even tougher as they welcome the third-ranked Texas Longhorns for a Saturday matinee matchup. It will be the second of a four-match homestand that will conclude next Saturday with Wichita State.



1. #58 Justin Boulais (OSU) def. #105 Bogdan Pavel (UCF) 6-2, 6-4

 2. Lleyton Cronje (UCF) vs. #39 Cannon Kingsley (OSU) 1-6, 6-3, unfinished

 3. Yassine Dlimi (UCF) vs. #20 JJ Tracy (OSU) 3-6, 6-1, unfinished

 4. #26 James Trotter (OSU) def. Liam Branger (UCF) 6-2, 6-1

 5. Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) vs. #52 Alexander Bernard (OSU) 4-6, 3-2, unfinished 6. Jack Anthrop (OSU) def. Francisco Llanes (UCF) 6-0, 6-1 



1. #76 Bogdan Pavel/Lleyton Cronje (UCF) def. #7 Andrew Lutschaunig/James Trotter (OSU) 6-3 2. Robert Cash/Justin Boulais (OSU) def. Paul Colin/Cooper White (UCF) 6-4

 3. Cannon Kingsley/JJ Tracy (OSU) def. Yassine Dlimi/Francisco Llanes (UCF) 6-3