TALLAHASSEE – The 16th-ranked Florida State men’s tennis team won its home opener and improved to 3-0 this season with a 5-2 victory over No. 7 Georgia on Sunday afternoon.
“Georgia has a great team,” head coach Dwayne Hultquist said. “To beat them here is great for our program. This is two years in a row we’ve beaten them. We feel like we have a very good team, and we have a lot to prove here early in the year. We have lots of tough, high-ranked teams that we play but we did that by design. We’re thrilled to get this win. It was awesome having a huge crowd out here today, and I think people will want to come back and watch more of that.”
The Seminoles jumped out to a 1-0 lead by defeating both of Georgia’s nationally-ranked doubles pairs to claim the initial point. Maks Silagy and Joshua Dous-Karpenschif earned the first win with a 6-3 decision over No. 55 Britton Johnston and Blake Croyder at the No. 2 position. Georgia then evened doubles with a 6-3 win at No. 3 to set up the deciding contest at No. 1. Antoine Cornut-Chauvinc and Barnaby Smith finished off an exciting, 7-6 (3) victory over the 19th-ranked doubles pair in America, Ethan Quinn and Trent Bryde, and gave FSU the early lead.
Cornut-Chauvinc, the nation’s No. 12-ranked singles player, defeated Quinn, the country’s No. 1 singles player, 6-1, 7-5 at No. 1 to extend Florida State’s lead to 2-0. After Georgia claimed a straight-sets win at No. 2, FSU’s lead grew to 3-1 when 53rd-ranked Jamie Connel defeated No. 21 Croyder 6-4, 7-6 (7) at No. 5.
“Georgia is one of the best teams in the country, so this was a big goal for us and we are excited for it,” Cornut-Chauvinc said. “We all fought on the court. I’m pretty proud of the team. Last year, I was watching the guys and wanted to be on this court. It’s so nice not only for me but for the team to clinch the doubles point with Barnaby and seeing all the guys around, then I had a really good match with Ethan so I’m pretty happy.”
Georgia closed the gap to 3-2 with a win at No. 6 singles, but that was the final point for the Bulldogs. Youcef Rihane, the 24th-ranked singles player in the nation, earned a come-from-behind 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 106 Bryde at No. 3 to clinch the team victory. Minutes later, Andreja Petrovic completed a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over 70th-ranked Teodor Giusca at No. 4 for the final margin of victory.
“It’s always good to win at home, especially in our first match here in Tallahassee,” Rihane said. “I’m very excited and looking forward to what’s next.”
Florida State defeated Georgia for the second time in as many contests. The Seminoles knocked the 11th-seed Bulldogs out of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-3 win in Athens in the second round last season. Sunday’s match was the first time Georgia traveled to Tallahassee since 1975, and FSU improved to 11-7 all-time at home against the Bulldogs.
“I was really proud of Youcef; he was cramping a little bit in the third set but was able to finish it off,” Hultquist said. “There were a lot of ups and downs and we kept plugging away. Jamie had match point earlier in the set and came back and won the tiebreaker after being down three. I was proud of how we competed and played together as a team.”
Florida State returns to the Scott Speicher Memorial Tennis Center on Saturday when it hosts FAU at 1 p.m.
#16 Florida State 5, #7 Georgia 2
For more information on the Florida State men’s tennis program, check Seminoles.com and follow us on social media at FSUMTennis (IG) and @FSU_MTennis (TW).