Sophomore Lucas Jovita led No. 37 South Florida in a 7-0 sweep of Georgia State at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts on Sunday.
Since losing his first match against Florida State’s Jean-Yves Aubone, No. 30 in the nation, Jovita has won three straight games in the Bulls’ No. 1 position.
Jovita, No. 27 in singles nationally, defeated Georgia State senior Nejc Podkrajsek 6-2, 6-0.
“I’ve been working hard and trying to reach my best tennis,” Jovita said. “Every match I play I try to give 100 percent.”
Coach Don Barr, who tried to recruit Podkrajsek out of high school, said Jovita has improved.
“His serve is getting bigger, and he’s coming up to volley better,” Barr said. “He’s added a lot of things to his game. He’s overall getting ready for whomever he plays. He has more than one dimension as a player — which is critical when you play against top spots.”
Jovita faced Podkrajsek in a doubles match, which the No. 15 duo of Jovita and junior Thomas Estrada won 8-4.
“They played excellent doubles,” Barr said. “It showed they should be in the NCAAs at the end of the year. I was very impressed.”
Freshman Wael Kilani has a 5-1 record in the Bulls’ No. 2, 3 and 4 positions. Barr moved Kilani to No. 2 when he defeated No. 40 Arizona’s Andres Carrasco two weeks ago.
“It’s difficult to have this record,” Kilani said. “Every player that plays against me will try to play 100 percent. I have to practice very seriously and be focused to keep this record.”
Kilani’s partner, freshman Romain Deridder, did not play because of an injured finger. It was the first time this season the two did not play together. Kilani and senior Mahmoud Hamed won 8-4.
“Wael (Kilani) is learning to handle the intensity of matches,” Barr said. “He’s very quiet, but he’s learning how to get a little more fired up. He went right to business and won the doubles with a different partner.”
Barr said the team is improving in all areas of the game.
“All of them are getting more comfortable coming up and taking the ball in the air,” he said. “I’m starting to see that in our singles play — they’re ready to close out the points.”