Men's Tennis Dominates FGCU in 7-0 Sweep

by Alex Clough

ORLANDO – Another day, another win.

The UCF men’s tennis team remained perfect on the season with a 7-0 sweep of Florida Gulf Coast Saturday afternoon at the USTA National Campus. The Knights (5-0) continued their blazing start to a new era under head coach Lloyd Bruce-Burgess, dismantling the Eagles (1-2) from the first serve to the last.

It's going to be important to carry the momentum into our next matches, Florida Atlantic and Miami will be two of the toughest matches of the season. The 5-0 record is great for the program and for the confidence of the guys going forward.

Lloyd Bruce-Burgess

The striking difference between this afternoon’s performance and the Knights' previous four outings was clear, they dominated doubles play. UCF secured its first point to open a match this season following two triumphs on courts two and three, with the latter serving as the clinch courtesy of Emilio Sanchez and Francisco Llanes.

Bruce-Burgess made some changes ahead of the first serve, moving Cronje alongside Liam Branger on court two. The pair instantly found chemistry, taking the match against Harry Michalowksi and Mika Bunjes, 6-1. The Knights secured the advantage following a valiant effort from the aforementioned Sanchez, making his season debut, and Llanes, who defeated Ninad Raut and John Zakowski, 6-4.

A 19-2 record through the Knights’ first four matches carried into today, as UCF once again dominated from courts one to six.

Yassine Dlimi has found his footing on court one as the sophomore secured his second-consecutive victory, defeating the Eagles’ Phillip Bosse, 6-2, 6-4. Minutes later, Branger notched his third win of the season with a strong straight-set triumph on court five against FGCU’s Mika Bunjes, 6-1, 6-1.

With the match within reach, Mehdi Benchakroun clinched the bout, moving to a remarkable 5-0 on the season with his 6-3, 6-3, win over Eric Oncins. Ranked 95th in the preseason ITA rankings, the Moroccan has defended that recognition with his best stretch of collegiate tennis to date.

Playing out, Llanes would secure his fourth-consecutive win on court three, defeating Pablo Paternostro, 6-3, 6-4.

Making his UCF debut, Sanchez secured a straight-set win of his own on court six, dismantling the Eagles’ Ninad Raut, 6-4, 6-3. The Spaniard’s introduction to Knight Nation was a success as he took both his doubles and singles duels.

The icing on the cake came from reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, Cronje, who moved to 5-0 in 2024 with a gritty 6-3, 7-6 (8), triumph over Hugo Magnusson. The two went into a back-and-forth tiebreak, which the South African eventually prevailed in as the fifth year continued to produce his best tennis in Black and Gold.

With a 5-0 record, UCF is off to its best start since 1999, a similar season under then-first-year head coach Michael Dublin.


The Knights welcome Florida Atlantic to Orlando on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m., for its first weekday matchup of the season. Days later on Sunday, Feb. 11, UCF wraps up its five-match homestand with Miami at Noon.