Men's Tennis Downs South Carolina
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - It came down to singles play for the Florida men's tennis team this afternoon as they overcame the loss in doubles and took down SEC-foe South Carolina, 4-2, at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
The match proved competitive early in doubles play as South Carolina's Andrew Adams and Kyle Koch clinched the doubles point at court two with an 8-6 defeat of Florida's senior pair Mike Alford<http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/men/bios.php?year=2013&player_id=22> and Florent Diep<http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/men/bios.php?year=2013&player_id=27>.
Right out of doubles, Gators' Diep dominated Gamecocks' 112th-ranked Adams at No. 2 singles to even the match 1-1. Sophomore Diego Hidalgo<http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/men/bios.php?year=2013&player_id=31> followed suit and took down USC's Thiago Pinheiro to win at No. 3 and lift the Gators, 2-1. South Carolina grabbed their second point at court five singles to even the score for the second time.
Jumping into the singles lineup for the first time since Feb. 1 at UCLA, freshman Elliott Orkin<http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/men/bios.php?year=2013&player_id=32> battled back from a first-set loss to defeat USC's Andrew Schafer and bring the Gators within one point of the victory.
The match between the SEC rivals came down to sophomore Gordon Watson<http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/men/bios.php?year=2013&player_id=29> vs. No. 55 Tsvetan Mihov on court one and freshman Maxx Lipman<http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/men/bios.php?year=2013&player_id=33> vs. Kyle Koch on court five. Watson clinched the match for the Gators with a two-hour, three-set win in his first time playing in the No. 1 spot.
Assistant Coach Mark Merklein's Minute: "It was a tough one and we expected that today. It was hot and we were 0-1 in the SEC coming into the match, so we needed to get things in order. We worked really hard leading into this match and we knew it would be a fight all the way through and it was. It was quite a match."
"We look to build confidence and engrain a certain identity into our team. That's what we're trying to do. We're young and we're, in my mind, trying to be the toughest team in the SEC - physically, mentally and show up day-to-day to work."
"Orkin has been through a lot. He wasn't playing and all of a sudden he's put into the SEC scene in a battle down there. He fought and Maxx hung in there. Down the road, they'll be Gator greats. They're great and they're just getting better."
Florida 4, South Carolina 2
(1) Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (USC) def. No. 9 Elliott Orkin/Gordon Watson (UF) 8-5 [:48]
(2) Andrew Adams/Kyle Koch (USC) def. Mike Alford/Florent Diep (UF) 8-6 [:57]*
(3) Diego Hidalgo/Spencer Newman (UF) vs. Andrew Schafer/Thiago Pinheiro (USC) 5-6, unfinished
South Carolina wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 2*
(1) Gordon Watson (UF) def. No. 55 Tsvetan Mihov (USC) 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 [2:08]*
(2) Florent Diep (UF) def. No. 112 Andrew Adams (USC) 6-1, 6-2 [1:33]
(3) Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Thiago Pinheiro (USC) 6-4, 6-1 [1:36]
(4) Maxx Lipman (UF) vs. Kyle Koch (USC) 6-1, 4-6, 6-6 unfinished
(5) Chip Cox (USC) def. Mike Alford (UF) 6-4, 7-6 (5) [1:43]
(6) Elliott Orkin (UF) def. Andrew Schafer (USC) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 [1:48]
Order of finish: 2, 3, 5, 6, 1*
Records: Florida 5-6/1-1 SEC, South Carolina 7-6/0-2 SEC
Up Next: The Gators continue SEC play at home on Friday, March 14, against 13-ranked Tennessee at 5 p.m.
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