Men's Tennis Secures 5-2 Triumph Over North Florida in Home Opener

by Hailey Traina

ORLANDO - The UCF’s Men’s Tennis team made its mark its home opener, as the Knights defeated North Florida, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at the USTA National Campus. Coming off a doubleheader sweep in South Carolina to open the season, the Knights add another win under first-year head coach Lloyd Bruce-Burgess. For the first time since 2017, UCF has opened the season with a 3-0 record.

When I started with the guys in August, they bought into everything quickly so that trend has continued. They put in a lot of work into their physicality and being mentally tough, we focus on that a lot. They’re willing to do that in practice, and I think it's shown throughout the matches.

Lloyd Bruce-Burgess

North Florida jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the match after claiming the doubles point. UNF’s Andreas Scott and Breno Marques took down UCF’s Paul Colin and Yassine Dlimi at No. 3 singles, 6-2. The Ospreys clinched the point when Jonas Hartenstein and Rodrigo Crespo defeated the 20th-ranked duo of Santiago Giamichelle and Lleyton Cronje, 7-6 (4).

The Knights bounced back in singles play by winning on five of the six courts to earn the 5-2 victory. Giamichelle went head-to-head with UNF’s Marques on court six, securing the first UCF point with a 6-0, 6-4, result. Minutes later, Colin notched another straight-set triumph against UNF’s Scott to give UCF the advantage in the match with a score of 6-1, 6-3. On court five, UCF’s Medhi Benchakroun bested PJ Kotan, 6-4, 6-1, and firmly put the momentum in the Knights’ hands.

Within just over an hour of singles play, the Knights were able to secure courts four to six in dominating fashion, a similar performance to Monday’s second victory over Coastal Carolina.

The Ospreys earned their second point of the match on court one with Harterstein recording a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Dlimi, but minutes later, UCF landed the final blow. The match-winning point came from UCF’s Francisco Llanes as he defeated Juan Pablo Cenoz 6-3, 6-2, giving the Uruguayan the second clincher of his career. Cronje and Crespo continued their match to the end after extending to a third set. Cronje secured the final point for UCF (6-4, 3-6, 6-3), capping off another brilliant singles outing for the Black and Gold.

Four Knights remain perfect on the season in singles, including fifth-year Cronje who is off to his best start at UCF. His doubles partner, Giamichelle, has wasted no time in getting acclimated, taking his first three matches in straight sets. As for Benchakorun and Colin, their growth has been evident following promising freshman campaigns in 2023, with both holding a combined 5-0 record early on.


UCF will continue its five-match homestand at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona tomorrow following their home-opening win. The Knights will conclude the weekend with Georgia Southern at noon.