LAKE NONA, Fla. – The 22nd ranked Florida State men’s tennis team (8-2) lost to the No. 4 Florida Gators (3-1) 4-1 as a part of the Fresh from Florida Sunshine Showdown and College MatchDay event.
“Florida came out great,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “They came out fast in doubles and they really controlled the first set of the match. We were working our way back in the match, but it wasn’t enough.”
In front of 1,240 fans, Florida State took on Florida at the USTA National Campus for the third year in a row. The Noles got off to a slow start in doubles losing on court two 6-0. Court one was down 4-2 and court three was down 5-2. They fought back but could not catch up losing 6-3 on court three.
Singles play got started and was quickly interrupted by rain that caused the match to go indoors after over an hour delay. Before the delay, the Seminoles had lost five of six first sets and senior Lucas Poullain was down 5-4 in the first.
The rain delay recharged Florida State as Poullain came back to win the first set in a tiebreaker after being down 5-1. Junior Rana-Roop Singh Bhullar dominated the second set on court five 6-0, forcing a third set that he would go on to win.
Florida kept fighting as well taking courts three and four to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Florida captured a 2-0 lead after taking down freshman Richard Thongoana 6-2, 6-1 and then extended the lead to 3-0 after freshman Juan Martin Jalif lost his first match 6-4, 6-3.
With only four courts left the Seminoles were in contention. Bhullar forced a third set and freshman Chase Wood was leading 5-4 serving for the set to force a third. Poullain was tied 3-3 in the second set after winning the first and junior Alex Knaff led 5-2 in a second set to force a third set. Knaff’s second set was forced into a tiebreaker, which he led 5-3.
Bhullar went on to win his match and narrow the team score to 3-1. Wood’s match on court six got tied at five in the second set as Knaff lost 7-6(5) to end the match with the Gators winning 4-1.
“Lucas came back from down 5-1 in the first set and Rana came back after losing the first set to take his match in three. Alex put himself in a chance to win the second set up 5-2 and had three set points. I thought we really battled well as a team down 3-0 and didn’t give up. It was the first time Juni (Juan Martin Jalif) got to play and he fought hard in a tough position. It was hard for us to play without Aziz but I thought everyone did a great job today”
Florida State will be back in action next Friday, February 8th at 5:30 pm to take on Auburn at home on the ACC Network Extra
To keep up with the Seminoles, check Seminoles.com for the latest news and scheduling information, or keep up with the team on social media through Twitter (@FSU_MTennis), Facebook (/FSUMTennis), and Instagram (@FSU_MTennis).
#4 Florida 4, #22 Florida State University 1
Florida 3-1; National ranking #4
Florida State University 8-2; National ranking #22
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,3,2,5)