GAINESVILLE, FL.- The No. 7 Texas A&M men's tennis team dropped a tightly contested match, 5-2, to No. 2 Florida (17-2, 9-0) Sunday at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Center. The SEC setback was the first for Aggies (17-4, 7-1 SEC) in 723 days after winning 21 straight league matches dating back to the 2017 season.
“I thought it was a very good college tennis match and give a lot of credit to Florida for coming back after the doubles,” Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton said. “Today was the first time in a long time that we got blanked in the first set of singles, but thought our guys responded very well. At one point in the third sets on a couple of courts it looked like we were going to slip away with the win, but give Florida credit as they outplayed us in the end. The two tiebreakers were pivotal and they took both of those. We love our team and their fight, we will live on to fight another day.”
The Maroon & White opened the match capturing the doubles point for the fourth straight match to take a 1-0 advantage. A&M’s 23rd ranked duo of Barnaby Smith and Carlos Aguilar captured a 6-3 win on court one over Florida’s Duarte Vale and McClain Kessler followed by a 6-4 win by A&M’s Hady Habib and Kevin Lam on court two over UF’s Oliver Crawford and Sam Riffice to clinch the point.
The Gators stormed into lead by claiming the first three singles wins after earning all six first sets in singles play. Vale bested A&M’s Austin Abbrat on court six, No. 51 Riffice edged out No. 62 Habib on court two and No. 15 Crawford topped No. 77 Aguilar to give the Gators a 3-1 advantage.
With all of the momentum in Florida’s favor, the Aggies posted a valiant effort to force third sets on courts three, four and five. A&M’s Valentin Vacherot, ranked No. 32, defeated No. 29 Andres Andrade of Florida 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to make the score 3-2, but the Gators were able to earn the final two points of the day by Lukas Grief over A&M’s Noah Schachter on court six in a third-set tiebreaker and by No. 97 Johannes Ingildsen over A&M’s No. 76 Smith on court four.
Following the trip to Gainesville the Aggies take on Kentucky in Lexington on Thursday before returning to College Station for a showdown against Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon.
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