Tallahassee, FL – For fifth time this season the Seminole men’s tennis team defeated its opponent in impressive 7-0 fashion. On Saturday Florida State improved to 8-1 on the year with a shutout victory over No. 53 USF (0-4). Florida State won all six singles matches in straight sets and fought back from deep holes in all three doubles matches only to win them all.
“I thought we played really well up top,” said FSU Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist. “Our top three guys all lost their last match when we faced No. 8 Baylor. Jordan (Kelly-Houston) beat a very good player in a dominating fashion, as did Blake (Davis). Christian (Gonzalez Mendez) had a good win as well. Those guys really bounced back and won impressively today. I was proud our guys finished things off and won all six matches and we didn’t drop a set today against a very good USF team.”
With the victorious women’s tennis team playing singles as the men’s match got underway, the Seminoles and Bulls opened the day on the doubles courts. All three FSU doubles teams were down at the five-game mark including the Seminoles’ No. 1 doubles team of Jordan Kelly-Houston and Blake Davis. Kelly-Houston and Davis were in a 5-1 hole before winning seven of the next eight games to go on to an 8-6 win. Dominic Cotrone and Anderson Reed secured the doubles point with a come-from-behind 8-6 win of their own on court two. Despite the doubles point being in-hand, Andres Bucaro and Benjamin Lock may have set the tone for the day with their 8-7 (7-2) win in which they fought off more than a half dozen match points on court three.
“I thought the doubles was very important today,” said Hultquist. “We kind of got off to a slow start and they were playing very well and hard. At one point we were down a break on every court and specifically we were down 5-1 at No. 1 doubles. We roared back to take that. That was a great turnaround. We fought back at No. 2 doubles as well and ended up winning a close one there.
“Even though we didn’t clinch the doubles point at court No. 3 I think it really helped that we fought off seven match points and won No. 3 doubles. That showed our toughness and resilience to not give in and come back and win when we already had the doubles point secured.”
With the Seminoles leading 1-0 Kelly-Houston led the way on the singles sides. Playing in the No. 1 spot the junior from New Zealand rolled to a 6-2, 6-0 victory to put FSU in front 2-0. Anderson Reed put FSU one point closer to clinching the win as he posted an impressive 6-1, 6-4 victory over Oliver Pramming of USF. Sophomore Blake Davis then clinched the win on court two with a 6-2, 6-2 victory extending the Seminoles to a 4-0 lead.
One of the most emotional matches of the day came on court five as senior Jason Zafiros took the first set easily 6-1 but had to fight back to win in straight sets 7-5. The Bradenton, FL native was rallying a very large and excited crowd the whole way on his comeback in the second set.
“I thought the crowd was great today,” said Hultquist. “We really appreciate that and our guys had fun playing in that environment. We aren’t home again until the end of February but the crowd made a big difference in the match today.”
Gonzalez Mendez put the Seminoles one step closer to a sweep with a 6-2, 6-4 win and that same fight the team showed in doubles was on display on court four where Bucaro took the first set 6-3 and then fought through a tough second set winning 7-5 to secure yet another 7-0 win.
The Seminoles will try to ride their early season momentum into their annual rivalry match with the Florida Gators. The two teams will meet in Gainesville next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. After facing UF, the Seminoles will go on the road to open conference play.
No. 35 FSU def. No. 53 USF 7-0
1) Kelly-Houston/Davis (FSU) def. Yoshizawa/Pramming (USF) 8-6
2) Cotrone/Reed (FSU) def. Sabogal/Kilani (USF) 8-6
3) Bucaro/Lock (FSU) def. Hagn/Marin-Salcedo (USF) 8-7 (7-2)
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
1) Jordan Kelly-Houston (FSU) def. Wael Kilani (USF) 6-2, 6-0
2) Blake Davis (FSU) def. Frederico Sabogal (USF) 6-2, 6-2
3) Cristian Gonzalez Mendez (FSU) def. Juan Carlos Acuna (USF) 6-2, 6-4
4) Andres Bucaro (FSU) def. Yannick Yoshizawa (USF) 6-3, 7-5
5) Jason Zafiros (FSU) def. Lucas Marin-Salcedo (USF) 6-1, 7-5
6) Anderson Reed (FSU) def. Oliver Pramming (USF) 6-1, 6-4
Order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 5, 3, 4