FORT WORTH, Texas – The No. 33 Florida State Seminoles (18-11, 7-7 ACC) defeated the No. 36 Arkansas Razorbacks (16-13, 6-6 SEC) 4-1 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tennis Championship, held at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center on the campus of Texas Christian University. The Seminoles advance to play the winner of host No. 6 TCU and Jackson State in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
In doubles play, the Seminoles fell on court two but took control of the point on courts one and three. No. 58 Aziz Dougaz/Guy Iradukunda earned their highest-ranked doubles win of the season, defeating No. 6 Mike Redlicki/Jose Salazar 7-5 to clinch the point. On match point, Dougaz/Iradukunda were down 15-40 but held to win the doubles point.
In singles, freshmen Alex Knaff and Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar stepped into the lineup at courts five and six, respectively, and Florida State jumped out to one set leads at the bottom half of the lineup on courts four through six.
No. 39 Salazar defeated No. 79 Iradukunda 6-2, 6-2 on court two to tie the match at 1-1, but the Seminoles began to take hold of the match by dominating the rest of the way through.
Bhullar was the first off for the Seminoles on court six, defeating Arkansas’ Juan Marino 6-2, 6-0. Knaff clinched just a few minutes later, downing Johan den Toom 6-3, 6-4 on court five to give Florida State a commanding 3-1 lead.
Redshirt junior Jose Gracia clinched the 10th opening-round victory in program history on court four 6-3, 6-1 over Adam Sanjurjo.
No. 38 Dougaz trailed No. 10 Redlicki 4-6, 2-5 on court one, and No. 94 Lucas Poullain led Oscar Mesquida 2-6, 6-1, 2-0 on court three when the Seminoles clinched the victory.
The Seminoles are now 10-4 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Championship, all but one of those wins coming under the watch of head coach Dwayne Hultquist. In tomorrow’s second round match, the Florida State is looking to reach the Round of 16 for the fourth time in Hultquist’s tenure.
Redshirt junior Jose Gracia
On earning a win in NCAAs:
“It’s a great opportunity, we just wanted to get after it. We’ve had a great week of practice this week and last week as well, and at ACCs. We’re playing big tennis right now.”
On doubles play and the team’s performance:
“Aziz and Guy stepped up in doubles, we were there, Terrance and Terrell played amazing doubles. Rana and Alex as freshmen, first time playing in NCAAs, really stepped it up. It just shows how we’re so deep and we can beat anyone.”
Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist
“Arkansas is a great team. I think it was a tough draw and it was a great effort by our guys to win. We were serving for it in doubles, down 15-40 and came back to hold. I thought that was the key point of the match.”
“We got great play from both of our freshman today. Rana got off quickly, which was great. Alex was up a set but down a break and won the last three games to close it out and he was confident in how he did. I was proud of that.”
“Jose got off to a close start, was down 2-0 and came all the way back to win 6-3, 6-1. It was a good effort today and a really good team that we beat with two of the best players in the country. I was proud of our effort. We’ve got a tough battle tomorrow, and we’ll have to play our best.”
Clear Bag Policy
For fans wishing to attend, the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center will be enforcing a clear bag policy for the NCAA Championship.
Only the following items will be permitted upon entrance into TCU athletics facilities:
-Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and not exceeding 14 inches by 14 inches
-One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar)
-One unopened bottle of water
-Small clutch bags with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the venue with one of the clear plastic bags
-The Small clutch bags must be approximately the size of a hand
-Exceptions will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at stadium/arena gates
-Backpacks, diaper bags and other similar bags will not be allowed
Watch NCAA Second Round vs. TCU/Jackson State:
Live Stats: http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=tcu
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