San Juan, Puerto Rico– The Florida State men’s tennis team got off to a hot start Friday morning at the 2016 Palmas Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The competition began with doubles play, where the Seminoles finished with a strong 5-1 record. The true freshman pairing of Alex Knaff and Rana Roop Singh Bhullar won their first collegiate doubles match 6-2 over Mercer’s Sam Fried and Sachin Khurana. The win marked the first collegiate doubles victory for both players.
Redshirt junior Jose Gracia and junior Terrance Whitehurst defeated Illinois’ Aron Hiltzik and Aleks Kovacevic, 6-3 while seniors Jake Albo and Jack Haffey won a tiebreaker, 7-6 over Illinois’ Julain Childers and Gui Gomes to put the Seminoles at 3-0 on the day.
In the second round, Knaff joined junior college transfer Guy Orly Iradukunda to defeat Georgia’s Walker Duncan and Robert Loeb, 6-3. The win was Iradukunda’s first as a Seminole and the second doubles win of the day for Knaff.
Gracia/Whitehurst defeated the Bulldogs’ Ponwith/Reinberg, 6-4, while Haffey/Albo fell, 3-6 to Motgomery/Zielinski to round out the first day of doubles play.
After multiple rounds of doubles, the heat of the Caribbean sun appeared to take its toll on the Seminoles, as they went on to finish 2-5 in singles play.
Both of the wins came at the hands of true freshmen. Singh Bhullar defeated Mercer’s Jordan Mark 6-2, 6-1 for his first collegiate singles victory, while Knaff defeated Mercer’s Khurana 6-1, 6-0 for his first collegiate singles win.
Knaff finished with three wins and no losses on the day.
Haffey (3-6, 3-6) and Albo (3-6, 5-7) each fell to Georgia, while Gracia (4-6, 2-6) and Iradukunda (1-6, 6-3, 3-6) each fell to the Illini.
The Seminoles will look to continue to continue the stellar doubles play on day two of the Puerto Rico Invite, as one round each of singles and doubles will be played Saturday morning.
For more information on Florida State tennis, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or follow the team on social media through Twitter (@FSU_MTennis), Facebook (/FSUMTennis), and Instagram (@FSU_MTennis).