TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- The Florida State men’s tennis team kicked off the 2017 dual match season at home in the Florida State Invitational on Saturday, starting the season 2-0 with wins over Louisiana and South Alabama. Florida State has now won 16 consecutive season openers under head coach Dwayne Hultquist.
Against South Alabama, the Seminoles had to dig deep after relinquishing an early 3-0 lead. With the match tied at 3-3, redshirt junior Jose Gracia was locked in a deciding three-set match with the dual locked at 3-3. He stepped up and earned the win for the Noles, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to win the dual 4-3.
“I liked how we closed it out. I think (Gracia) stepped up and played really good,” Hultquist said. “Serving an ace on match point, I think he stepped it up and won a dominating last game.”
In the 9:00 a.m. match against Louisiana, Florida State jumped out to early lead and made quick work of the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Redshirt juniors Gracia and Lucas Poullain defeated Pearse Dolan/Vlad Kramarov 6-1, while senior Jack Haffey and sophomore Aziz Dougaz defeated Jamie Fraser/Arthur Libaud 6-4 to put the Seminoles ahead 1-0.
In singles, three Noles earned their first dual match wins in the garnet and gold. Poullain and freshman Alex Knaff put the Seminoles on the board, allowing No. 71 Guy Iradukunda to defeat Coleman Wahlborg 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the 4-0 victory for the Seminoles.
“I think we’ve got to keep playing better and grow as a team,” Hultquist said after the afternoon match with South Alabama. “I thought the end of the match was good, but we need more. We need to keep aspiring to more- I’m looking for us to have consistency and play well in every spot every day.”
Florida Atlantic, Mercer, Troy, Florida A&M and Georgia State also join the Seminoles in Tallahassee for the two-day competition.
With each team guaranteed to play three matches in the Florida State Invitational, the Seminoles will now play in the championship match at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday against the team with the second-best record, the winner of Troy and Georgia State. The third place match will also be at 12:30 p.m., while the fifth/sixth and seventh/eighth matches will be played at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Admission is free at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center throughout the tournament. In the case of inclement weather, play will be moved to the Indoor Tennis Facility located at 2566 Pottsdamer Rd., Tallahassee, Fla., 32310.
For more information on Florida State tennis, check out: