Florida 4, Florida State
Florida 4, Florida State 0May 22, 2005
COLLEGE STATIONn, Texas -- The third-ranked University of Florida mens tennis team continued its success against in state opponents under fourth-year head coach Andy Jackson (15-0 all-time), however, Sundays 4-0 win over No. 19 Florida State in College Station, Texas, may have been one of the biggest as it propelled the Gators into the semifinals of the NCAA Championship for the second time in school history. Floridas win was its 19th in the last 20 dual matches improving the Gators to 24-5 on the year. Florida next faces defending national champion Baylor on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.
"The Gators are excited to be in the final four since our team earned it with a lot of hard work," said Jackson. "We will play one of the best, if not the best team in the country now, and we are going to get after it. In the last two years weve beaten Florida State 4-3 early in the year and they kept knocking on the door to get in the top ten. The state of Florida will be a real battle now. "
Florida was one of two SEC schools to make it to the semifinal round as the other side of the draw features Ole Miss and UCLA. Overall, the conference has had at least one team in the national semifinals 12 of the past 13 seasons.
Floridas first trip to the semifinals came in 2000 where the Gators dropped a 4-0 decision to Stanford in Athens, Ga. The trip to the semifinals also matches the farthest run for Jackson during his 22-year coaching career. Prior to coming to Gainesville, Jackson took Mississippi State to the round on two occasions (1994 and 1998).
Sundays shutout was the third for UF in the tournament. The Gators opened play by blanking UCF in the opening round on May 14. On Saturday, Florida turned in the same score against No. 18 South Carolina. The three shutouts marked the first time in school history Florida has held three opponents scoreless in the event.
The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker on court one where UF triumphed to become the third team this season to take a 1-0 lead over the Seminoles (Virginia and Notre Dame). Floridas Nestor Briceno and Stefan Tell started things off by taking an 8-6 decision over Sam Chang and Jonathas Sucupira at the bottom of the lineup. The win was their third of the tournament and eighth on the season. After Chris Brandi and Jordan Dolberg slipped against 40th-ranked Ytai Abougzir and Mat Cloer on two, 8-5, the outcome on court one would decide the point.
Floridas eighth-ranked Greg Ouellette and Hamid Mirzadeh jumped to a 6-3 lead and then held off Florida States Jeff Groslimond and Chris Westerhof in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (6).
"We are not a big believer in the doubles point being the most important point, but we did know of Florida States record in the doubles," said Jackson. "We also knew they were on the court a long time yesterday against Illinois and we wanted to get after them. Regardless of how the tie breaker went we did that, but winning it gave us momentum and we needed it in the singles."
In singles play, Briceno made it a 2-0 match in Floridas favor with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Westerhof on four. The UF newcomer improved to 18-8 in dual matches on the year and 32-13 overall. Junior Vladimir Obradovic (No. 95) had Florida within a point of clinching the match five minutes later when he turned in his fourth win of the tournament by posting a 6-3, 6-4 win over Groslimond one spot higher in the order.
Mirzadeh (No. 24) provided the victory UF was looking for as he slipped past Cloer (No. 26) on court one in straight sets (6-2, 7-6 (3)). The win was his 11th over a ranked opponent this year as it redeemed an earlier loss this year to Cloer during the regular season match in Tallahassee (6-3, 6-4), which UF won 4-3.
Baylor enters Mondays match 32-0 on the season and ranked No. 1 nationally. The Gators and the Bears met in the regular season in Gainesville where UF dropped a 5-2 decision on Wednesday, March 2.
"Im really happy to have played them earlier because we know what we have to do," said Jackson. "We are not the same team, and Im sure Baylor isnt either. We know theyve improved and we also know they are human."
#8 Hamid Mirzadeh/Greg Ouellette (UF) def. Jeff Groslimond/Chris Westerhof (FSU), 9-8 (6)
#40 Ytai Abougzir/Mat Cloer (FSU) def. Jordan Dolberg/Chris Brandi (UF), 8-5
3. Nestor Briceno/Stefan Tell (UF) def. Sam Chang/Jonathas Sucupira (FSU), 8-6 Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
(#24) Hamid Mirzadeh (UF) def. (#26) Mat Cloer (FSU), 6-2, 7-6 (3)
(#49) Greg Ouellette (UF) vs. Ytai Abougzir (FSU), DNF
(#95) Vladimir Obradovic (UF) def. Jeff Groslimond (FSU), 6-3, 6-4
Nestor Briceno (UF) def. Chris Westerhof (FSU), 6-3, 6-2
(#103) Chris Brandi (UF) vs. Jonathas Sucupira (FSU), DNF
Ryan Sherry (UF) vs. Chip Webb (FSU), DNF
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 1
-- Courtesy Florida