Only one weekend into their spring season, and the players of the USF men’s tennis team are very happy to be where they are: 2-0. The Bulls, ranked 38th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association before the season began, defeated Bethune-Cookman Saturday and then went on to beat Florida A&M Sunday.
The Bulls made it through the weekend undefeated not only as a team, but individually as well, winning 7-0 both days. On both Saturday and Sunday, they won all six singles matches, two in straight 6-0 sets, and all three doubles matches. In college play, three doubles matches are played, and the winner of two or more of those matches earns the team point.
“I’m happy with the matches we’ve played,” USF coach Don Barr said.
Against the hard-hitting FAMU Rattlers Sunday, Uli Kiendl defeated La’Vaughn Munroe for a 6-3, 6-2 victory. Paco Antelo won his match against Lenin Mongerie, 6-0, 6-4. Dan McCain defeated Kareem Bennett 6-1, 6-1, while Jorge Escallon beat Isaac Yarrell 6-2, 6-2, and Nadim Naser knocked off Petr Pospisil 6-1, 6-1.
Eric Gildhorn was winning 3-6, 6-3, 3-1 before his opponent, Noel Wadawu, retired from the match after needing the attention of trainers several times.
All three doubles matches were USF victories, although FAMU’s No. 1 team of Munroe-Yarrell gave Antelo-Kiendl a run for their money before the USF duo eventually won 9-7. Other scores saw Adrian Meier-McCain defeat Bennett-Mongerie 8-6 and Escallon-Naser bested Pospisil-Wadawu 8-2.
Saturday proved to be less difficult, as Naser and Escallon defeated BCC’s Vesa Rakocevic and Brandon Jackson, respectively, in straight 6-0, 6-0 sets. Antelo posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory vs. BCC’s Nicolas Laveade.
Two newcomers to the USF team also won their singles matches. Kiendl played No. 2 singles vs. Damir Krimer, winning 6-0, 6-1. McCain had a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Malik Hall Jr. Meier also defeated Marin Dimitrov 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles matches against BCC were won by Antelo-Kiendl against Krimer-Laveade 8-3, by Gildhorn-McCain vs. Hall Jr.-Rakocevic 8-1, and by Escallon-Naser vs. Dimitrov-Jackson 8-1.
Missing from the matches was Bulls’ sophomore Martin Wetzel, who has a quadriceps injury.
“He’ll be playing,” Barr said. “He’s 85 percent now. I wanted 100 out of him. He’ll be out there next week.”
The Bulls will have their work cut out for them. On Jan. 25, they will host No. 18 South Alabama, and many of their upcoming opponents are ranked 30th or better in the ITA. Team captain Escallon is excited about the new season as well as the new players.
“I feel we are stronger,” Escallon said. “We have two good matches coming in. That’s when we are really going to know where we are at.”
- Contact Sean Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org