The USF men’s tennis team’s home win streak was snapped at 11 Tuesday by Auburn, 5-2.
The Bulls (11-5) fought hard in the doubles, but Auburn’s Andy Colombo and Rameez Junaid were too much for South Florida’s top tandem of Paco Antelo and Renato Silveira.
“I’ve seen a huge improvement in Paco’s game lately,” said Bulls coach Don Barr. “Auburn’s coach (Eric Shore) said they were the best doubles combo he has seen all year. He was very impressed, and so was I. We only lost 8-6.”
Last year, Colombo and Junaid were ranked No. 1 in the country and won the NCAA Division I doubles title.
Nadim Naser and Andres Maroldt took South Florida’s only doubles match by a score of 8-6. The Tigers took the doubles point when Auburn’s No. 2 team of Tom George and Markus Schiller beat Uli Kiendl and Juan Barragan 9-8 (9-7).
In singles competition, Antelo (6-2, 6-3) and Jorge Escallon (6-2, 6-3) pulled off wins in the No. 2 and No. 6 spots, respectively.
In the No. 4 singles match, Maroldt took the Tigers’ Rodrigo Minozzo into a third set when he began to cramp up.
“I fought to break point, and then I started to cramp,” Maroldt said. “I didn’t know I was able to take a break during the match. I only thought I was allowed to take one between points. If I would have had that rest, I think I could have pulled it out. It would have been a huge win for us.”
Though the Bulls lost the match, Barr said he was very impressed with their play.
“Auburn is a real good team,” Barr said. “They are No. 23 in the country. They played with great intensity, and I’m not disappointed at all with their play.
“We’re going places, and we have a good shot at winning the conference if we keep up our intensity.”
The Bulls have a day off Thursday as they prepare for their toughest match of the year at No. 4 Baylor Saturday.