Men’s Tennis Defeats UAB, Moves to 8-1

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UCF men’s tennis team earned a 5-2 victory against the UAB Blazers Sunday afternoon at the Hoover Met Tennis Center. After recording the best start to a season in program history, the Knights are continuing their historic start and move to 8-1 on the season, while the Blazers fall to 5-5.

UCF won the first five points in the match to clinch the win, but the teams continued to play and UAB won the final two courts to narrow the final margin to 5-2.

After winning the doubles matches on courts one and two, UCF jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the match. Mehdi Benchakroun and Yassine Dlimi defeated UAB’s Noah Malige and Ondrej Valek, 6-2, to get the Knights off to a positive start. A few minutes later, UCF’s Liam Branger and Lleyton Cronje took down Georgios Nouchakis and Chase Parker by the same score (6-2) to give the Black and Gold the first point.

The doubles match on court three featuring Francisco Llanes and Santiago Giamichelle from UCF against Carlos Gimenez Perez and Juan Pablo Valdez was knotted at 4-4 when the point was clinched and went unfinished.

The momentum continued into singles with Dlimi as the first Knight to complete his match, winning in straight sets against Vojtech Podzemny, 6-1, 6-2. Dlimi, the sophomore from Morocco, has now won his last five matches with each coming at the No. 1 spot in singles play. Cronje was next on the board for UCF to push the lead to 3-0, defeating Perez at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-3.

Benchakroun’s sixth win of the season clinched the victory for UCF, as he took down Valdez on court six, 6-2, 6-3 to make it a 4-0 Knights advantage. Giamichelle picked up the final point of the day for the Black and Gold to give the squad a 5-0 lead. He defeated UAB’s Malige in dominant fashion with a 6-0 bagel in the first set and a 6-4 win in the second set.

UAB’s only two points came in three-set victories with Valek outlasting UCF’s Branger, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 and Llanes dropped a third-set tiebreaker 10-6 after splitting the first two sets with Perez, 6-3, 6-7 (3).

UCF returns to action at home Friday, March 1, as the Knights host South Florida. First serve is set for 6 p.m. from the USTA National Campus.

UCF 5, UAB 2

Doubles Competition

  1. Yassine Dlimi/Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) def. Noah Malige/Ondrej Valek (UAB) 6-2
  2.  Liam Branger/Lleyton Cronje (UCF) def. Georgios Nouchakis/Chase Parker (UAB) 6-2
  3. Francisco Llanes/Santiago Giamichelle (UCF) vs. Carlos Gimenez Perez/Juan Pablo Valdez (UAB), 4-4 unfinished

Singles Competition

  1. Yassine Dlimi (UCF) def. Vojtech Podzemny (UAB) 6-1, 6-2
  2. Carlos Gimenez Perez (UAB) def. Francisco Llanes (UCF) 6-3, 6-7 (3), 10-6
  3. Lleyton Cronje (UCF) def. Georgios Nouchakis (UAB) 6-2, 6-3
  4. Santiago Giamichelle (UCF) def. Noah Malige (UAB) 6-0, 6-4
  5. Ondrej Valek (UAB) def. Liam Branger (UCF) 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
  6. Mehdi Benchakroun (UCF) def. Juan Pablo Lopez (UAB) 6-2, 6-3

Order of Finish

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