KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Florida picked up its biggest victory of the season on Sunday, beating No. 6 Tennessee 4-3. After winning the doubles point, Gator freshman Luke Johnson clinched the win with a three-set victory at No. 6 singles against the Vols’ John Collins.
Florida (8-6, 2-2 SEC) used a solid performance in doubles to earn the first point against Tennessee (15-6, 2-3 SEC). UT opened with a victory at No. 1 doubles, as No. 17 Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese beat Bob van Overbeek and Stephane Piro 8-5. Junior Florent Diep and Johnson responded with a win at No. 3 doubles, beating the Vols’ Jarryd Chaplin and Brandon Fickey 8-5.
On court two, the Gators’ Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson were even at 7-7 with Tennessee’s Collins and Edward Jones, but the UF duo won the final two games to secure the doubles point and give Florida a 1-0 lead in the match.
The momentum carried over into singles for the Gators, as Piro was first off the court with a 6-0, 6-4 win against Fickey at No. 3 singles. Federhofer came in next to give UF a 3-0 lead, beating Chaplin 6-4, 6-4, on court four.
The Vols mounted a comeback that made things interesting. Jones beat Watson at No. 5 singles and Libietis, ranked sixth in the nation, beat Diep at No. 1 singles to pull within 3-2. In No. 2 singles, Reese took the first set from van Overbeek at 6-2, but van Overbeek fought back with a 7-5 second-set win to force a third set. Reese was too much in the end, outlasting van Overbeek 6-0 in the third set to even the match at 3-3.
In the deciding match on court six, Johnson and Collins split the first two sets, with Johnson winning the second in a tiebreak after dropping the first set. In the third set, Johnson got ahead 3-1, but then lost the next three games and trailed 4-3. Johnson then rallied to take four of the next five games and win the match, clinching the Gators’ first win against a top-10 opponent this season