Tallahassee, FL - After a day of playing tough opponents and their own teammates, Florida State’s Cristian Gonzalez Mendez and Michael Rinaldi face off in Sunday’s singles finals of the Bedford Cup at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center at 9:00 a.m.
“I thought singles was very strong today,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “We won all of the main draw matches with an exception of when we played against each other. I am very pleased with how much Cristian and Michael have improved from last year. Cristian is finishing around the net and Michael’s conditioning and fitness are paying off.
Beginning in the quarterfinals, Gonzalez Mendez, a junior, faced off against his teammate freshman Jose Gracia. With Gracia down 4-1 in the first set, he fought make to tie it a 4-4. Gonzalez Mendez fought back and finished the match to win 6-4, 6-1. Moving into the semifinals, he once again faced off against a teammate in freshman Grayson Goldin. Goldin played strong in the first set to win it, but the upperclassman fought back to win the match 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“I’m really glad to be playing in tomorrow’s finals,” said Gonzalez Mendez. “It was different having to beat two of my own teammates, but they both played really tough matches, not only today but the whole week. It just shows how good the team is going to be this year.”
In order to get to the semifinals, Goldin squared off against the No. 1 seed of the tournament, Jordi Vives of Florida Gulf Coast. Goldin won the quarterfinal match 6-3, 6-4.
‘I was really pleased with Grayson’s win over the top seed today,” continued Hultquist. “It was a good breakthrough for him and shows that we are moving in the right direction in developing his game.”
The other Seminole in the final is the sophomore Rinaldi, the No. 2 seed of the tournament. In the quarterfinals this morning, he topped Laurynas Antropikas of Stetson 6-3, 7-6 (1). Facing off against the No. 3 seed in the semifinals, he easily took down North Florida’s Norbert Nemcsek 6-2, 6-3.
The Seminoles did not fare as well in doubles play with Goldin and Rinaldi losing 8-3 to Inaki Espindola and Riaan Du Toit of UCF.