Men’s Tennis No. 3 beaten by No. 1 Florida, 4-3
Austin- Texas’ No. 3 men’s tennis picked up singles victories at No. 1, 2 and 4 over No. 1 Florida but were edged, 4-3, by defending champion Gators on Sunday at the Texas Tennis Center.
Singles wins included sophomores Eliot Spizirri at No. 1 and No. 20 Micah Braswell at No. 2, with senior Richard Ciamarra at No. 4 after Florida won the doubles point in a deciding Game 3 tiebreaker.
Braswell was the first to leave the Longhorns ground, beating Duarte Vale in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. Braswell opened on a 4-0 run that included two-point wins in the first three games and breaks in the first and third. The rest of the first set remained on serve with Braswell closing it with another point before opening the second with a break and hold. Braswell maintained that break until the final game when he earned another one with a deuce for the game to tie the aggregate score at 1-1.
The Gators returned to the top with a win at No. 5 where No. 61 Mattias Siimar beat second No. 73 Cleeve Harper, 6-4, 6-4. Siimar opened with two breaks in the first three games and won a deuce on serve for a 3-0 lead, but Harper responded with a 3-0 run that included two deuces. Siimar regained the lead on a break and then held 5-3, with each player holding the next two games to end the set. In the second, Siimar again took a break and then held 2-0, which he held until Harper broke at 4-4. However, Siimar recovered the break in the following game and served the game.
Florida was able to briefly extend its lead as a junior Chih Chi Huang fell to No. 111 Josh Goodger, 6-2, 7-6 (7), at No. 6. After Goodger was able to make it three points from two in the first set, including the last two games, Huang used a two-point break to take a 4-2 second lead. Goodger answered the break in the next game and the rest of the set remained serving for the tiebreaker, which was going back and forth with no player holding more than a point lead until Goodger wins the match at 9-7.
The remaining matches all went to three sets with Ciamarra leading with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory over No. 107 Andy Andrade at No. 4. Ciamarra opened the match with a victory of two points on serve and used another for a break in game four for a 3-1 lead which he extended to 4-1 on serve. The rest of the set stayed on serve with Ciamarra using another two point for the win. He was able to start the second set with a break, but Andrade put it back on schedule with his own break on a two point in the next game. It was there that he stayed at a 4-3 advantage for Andrade when the set moved to the breaks the rest of the way with the final two points down to give Andrade the win. The third set was dominated by Ciaarra in terms of games won, as they opened on a 5-0 run, but the last five of the match were all decided on two runs, with Ciaarra capturing four to reduce the overall lead at 3-2. .
This left Spizzirri and freshman Pierre-Yves Bailly on the court for Texas against two of the best players in the country, defending NCAA singles champion Sam Riffice and second-ranked Ben Shelton, respectively.
Despite a break against Spizzirri in the opener, he responded with a 3-0 run, including two breaks and a two-point catch. Riffice salvaged one of the breaks from a two-pointer in the next game and then held to level the score at 3-3, but Spizzirri took it back with two two-point holds and a break for the win. In the second, Riffice used a break in game two to establish a 3-0 lead and added another on a deuce for 5-1 before closing at 6-1. After the two players traded breaks in the third and fourth games of the third set, Riffice posted a 3-0 run for a 5-2 lead. However, Spizzirri managed to fend off several match points to mount a 4-0 run to take the lead, including two-point wins in the top three. Riffice recovered to hold and send him a tiebreaker where Spizzirri took a 2-0 lead which he held at 5-3. Riffice rallied with a 3-0 run for the lead, but Spizzirri answered him for the win and a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(6) final, tonight the match again at 3- 3.
While Spizzirri closed with a tiebreaker victory, Bailly opened with one against Shelton. Bailly earned a break in the second game for a 2-0 lead, but Shelton responded in the next game, and despite three points from two, the rest of the set remained at the breaker’s service. There Bailly won the first two points with Shelton taking the next two, but Bailly was able to collect three of the next four for a 5-3 lead, as well as the last two for a 7-4 win. In the second set, Shelton used three two-point wins, the last of which was part of a 4-0 run that took the score from 2-2 to 6-2, before ending the third set with a 5-0 run for his 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 final that won the game overall for the Gators.
Earlier, the doubles had narrowed to inches as Florida won a tiebreaker at No. 3 with the No. 51 pair of Andrade and Siimar overtaking Braswell and Huang, 7-6 (5). The Gators opened with a break and then held a 2-0 lead, but the Longhorns responded on the break two games later to tie it. Florida retook the break in the next game and the game went serve up 5-4 with Texas going on a 3-0 run the previous game for a 6-5 lead. The next game also went to a tie and a game point for the Longhorns, but the Gators secured it to head into a tiebreaker. In that frame, Braswell and Huang took a 3-0 lead which they held at 5-2, but Florida closed on a 5-0 run, including a volley from Huang that narrowly missed the band that made 5-4.
Texas had come out on top in the doubles with an efficient win by No. 23 Spizzirri and Siem Woldeab at No. 1, as they beat Riffice and Shelton, 6-2. The Longhorns broke in the opener on a two point run and then held on to a 2-0 lead before earning a second break to go up 4-1 on their way to 5-1. Florida recovered a game on serve, but Spizzirri closed the game with a hold for the win.
At No. 2, Ciamarra and Harper dropped their match with Vale and Abedallah Shelbayh, 6-2. After being broken in Game 1, the Longhorns responded to the break to tie it at 2-2, but the Gators took it back with a 4-0 run that included a two point for the game.
The Longhorns then head west for two games in Arizona, taking on the University of Arizona on Friday, January 21 and Arizona State on Sunday, January 23.
#1 Florida 4, #3 Texas 3
Singles – Order of arrival (2,5,6,4,1,3)
1. Eliot Spizirri (UT) def. Sam Riffice (UF) 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (6)
2. #20 Micah Braswell (UT) def. Duarte Vale (UF) 6-2, 6-3
3. #2 Ben Shelton (UF) def. Pierre-Yves Bailly (UT) 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1
4. Richard Ciamarra (UT) def. #107 Andy Andrade (UF) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
5. #61 Mattias Siimar (UF) def. #73 Cleeve Harper (UT) 6-4, 6-4
6. #111 Josh Goodger (UF) def. Chih Chi Huang (UT) 6-2, 7-6 (7)
Doubles – Order of arrival (1,2,3)
1. #23 Eliot Spizirri/Siem Woldeab (UT) def. Ben Shelton/Sam Riffice (UF) 6-2
2. Duarte Vale/Abedallah Shelbayh (UF) defeated. #13 Richard Ciamarra/Cleeve Harper (TU) 6-2
3. #51 Mattias Siimar/Andy Andrade (UF) def. Micah Braswell/Chih Chi Huang (UT) 7-6 (5)