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Men's Tennis Suffers First Defeat of Season at Florida

by Alex Clough

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – For the first time in the 2024 campaign, the UCF Men Tennis team was defeated following a contested 6-1 loss against Florida. The Knights (7-1) battled throughout Monday afternoon at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex, though the Gators (4-4) fended UCF off following four, straight-set wins in singles.

"It wasn't to be today for us, Florida was too good in the big moments. We had our chances but we will go back to practice and use it as an opportunity to learn," said head coach Lloyd-Bruce Burgess following the match.

The 23rd meeting between the two programs was ushered in with a back-and-forth doubles bout. Each contest was decided by just two points as it was a constant battle to hold serve. On court three, Francisco (Toto) Llanes and Santiago Giamichelle were dominant after taking the lead halfway through, eventually taking their second match of the season, 6-4. The South American tandem is now 2-1 on the season and has shown prowess in anchoring the Knights’ doubles lineup.

Shortly after on court one, Yassine Dlimi and Mehdi Benchakroun’s late efforts were withheld as the Gators' 58th-ranked duo of Aidan Kim and Nate Bonetto leveled the match with a 6-4 result. With court two at 5-5 following the conclusion of one, the Gators pulled away to take the doubles point after breaking serve, besting Lleyton Cronje and Liam Branger, 7-5.

In singles, the Gators took the first sets on courts two through five following Dlimi’s swift 6-2 advantage on one.

A late surge in the second set fell just short for Giamichelle on court four, as the Argentinian suffered his first defeat of the season, 6-1, 6-4, to Bonetto. On courts three and five, Benchakroun and Llanes weren’t able to battle back after tight losses in their respective first sets.

The first of two ranked matchups of this afternoon’s contest saw No. 82 Tanapatt Nirundorn defeat the 120th-ranked Benchakorun in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. The contest on court three eventually became the match clincher for the Gators as Kim bested Llanes, 7-5, 6-2.

A highly contested duel on court two went in favor of Florida’s 89th-ranked Jeremy Jin, as he bested the 100th-ranked Cronje, 7-5, 6-3.

The Knights would eventually get on the board on court one, as Dlimi secured a strong 6-2, 5-7, 11-9 victory over Florida’s Adihithya Ganesan following a shortened third set. The Moroccan is firing on all cylinders as of late, notching his fourth win of the season and moving his unbeaten stretch to five matches.

Monday’s match was concluded with Florida’s Henry Jefferson’s 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 win over Branger, who fell for the first time this season.

UCF will be back in action as it makes the trip to UAB for the second consecutive season. The Knights and Blazers will meet on Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama, for an 11 a.m. ET start.

Doubles Competition

  1. #52 Aidan Kim/Nate Bonetto (UF) def. Yassine Dlimi/Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) 6-4
  2. Adhithya Ganesan/Tanapatt (UF) def. Liam Branger/Lleyton Cronje (UCF) 7-5
  3. Francisco Llanes/Santiago Giamichelle (UCF) def. Henry Jefferson/Jeremy Lin (UF) 6-4

Singles Competition

  1. Yassine Dlimi (UCF) def. Adihithya Ganesan (UF) 6-2, 5-7, 11-9
  2. #89 Jeremy Lin (UF) def. #100 Lleyton Cronje (UCF) 7-6, 6-3
  3. Aidan Kim (UF) def. Francisco Llanes (UCF) 7-5, 6-2
  4. Nate Bonetto (UF) def. Santiago Giamichelle (UCF) 6-1, 6-4
  5. #82 Tanapatt Nirundorn (UF) def. #120 Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) 6-3, 6-3
  6. Henry Jefferson (UF) def. Liam Branger (UCF) 7-5, 3-6, 6-4

Order of Finish

  • Doubles: 3,1,2
  • Singles: 4,5,3,2,1,6