Then-freshman Oliver Crawford clinched the Florida men’s tennis team’s 4-3 upset win over then-No. 1 Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, last season.
The No. 9 Florida men’s tennis team knew that this match would be different.
Crawford (now a sophomore) and the rest of the team will look to prove that last year’s victory wasn’t a fluke.
The No. 8 Gators and No. 2 Demon Deacons face off on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville. Despite last year’s loss to the Gators, the season still turned out well for the Deacons as it defeated Ohio State 4-2 to win its first national championship.
This season hasn’t been any different for Wake Forest. It’s off to a 15-2 start, and it’s currently undefeated in ACC play. It has won nine out of its last 10 matches, and the only loss came against the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at the ITA National Indoor Team Championships. The Demon Deacons are 7-2 against nationally ranked teams, but do come into the match struggling. They barely squeezed by No. 48 UCF 4-3 in their last match and lost the doubles point.
The Gators (9-2) come into this match on a high. They are coming off their biggest win of the season on Sunday against No. 10 Mississippi State. After losing the doubles point on Sunday, UF won its next five points on the way to a 5-2 win. Florida has won three in a row and are undefeated in SEC play. It has yet to lose a match at home this season and has won 10 games in a row in Gainesville.
Looking at the rankings of the players, one can see how much talent is on these two top-10 teams. Both Florida and the Wake Forest have four players ranked in the ITA singles Top 90. The Demon Deacons are led by No. 2 Petros Chrysochos.
UF does have the advantage in doubles, though, as it has four doubles pairs ranked in the top 80 while the Deacons only have one: No. 35 Chrysochos and Bar Botzer.
The Gators lead the all-time series against Wake Forest 13-6. The last time they met in Gainesville was on Jan. 29, 2012, a 6-1 win for the Gators.
Follow Noah Ram on Twitter @noah_ram1 and contact him at [email protected].