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UF downs Vandy to advance to SEC Tournament Semifinal

2261 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 11 University of Florida tennis team earned a 4-0 victory over the No. 34 Vanderbilt Commodores on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the 2016 SEC Tournament. The Gators have now won four straight SEC duals and 10 out of their last 11 dating back to March 11.

In doubles action, juniors Max Lipman and Elliot Orkin defeated Vanderbilt's Pan Binet and Tate Allwardt, 6-1, on court two. The nation's top pairing in seniors Diego Hidalgo and Gordon Watson clinched the doubles point with a 6-1 victory over the Commodores' Rhys Johnson and Cameron Klinger for the 1-0 lead.

The Gators are now 13-4 when clinching the doubles point this season. The Florida Men kept the momentum rolling in singles play, claiming three straight matches to seal the 4-0 win. Hidalogo, who currently ranks 11th nationally, put the Blue and Orange in front, 2-0, with scores of 6-3 and 6-0 over VU's Daniel Valent. McClain Kessler, coming off of two weeks rest, then extended the lead to 3-0 with 6-2 and 6-3 scores on court six. Watson closed the door on Vanderbilt's hopes of a comeback, clinching the match on court five with scores of 6-4, 1-6, and 6-1.

Head Coach Bryan Shelton on the day: "We played really well overall today against a good Vanderbilt team. They came in hot after having won a couple big matches on the road recently and they took care of business yesterday to get in this position.

"We came in today though and matched it with leadership by our seniors, Gordon [Watson] and Diego [Hidalgo]. They came out and played really high-quality doubles play to get us started. At Court two, Max and Elliot came out of the gates swinging away and went up 5-0 with confidence.

"Ultimately we gave ourselves the opportunity to compete well today and we took advantage of it. I'm really happy for the seniors and this team in a tournament where you want to keep advancing." Up Next: The Gators will face the winner of South Carolina / Texas A&M match in the semifinal round of the tournament. First serve for tomorrow's match at the Carolina Tennis Center is set for Noon ET.

Final Results #11 Florida 4, #34 Vanderbilt 0

Doubles-Order of Finish: 2, 1*

1: #1 Hidalgo/Watson (UF) def. Johnson/Klinger (VU), 6-1*. 2: #68 Lipman/Orkin (UF) def. Binet/Allwardt (VU), 6-1. 3: Perez/Perez-Blanco (UF) vs. Valent/Newman (VU), 3-4.

Singles-Order of Finish: 1, 6, 5*

1: #11 Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Daniel Valent (VU): 6-3, 6-0 2: #83 Alfredo Perez (UF) vs. Cameron Klinger (VU): 5-7(2), 6-2, 1-5 3: #36 Elliott Orkin (UF) vs. Rhys Johnson (VU): 6-4, 3-6, 5-6 4: #123 Chase Perez-Blanco vs. Baker Newman (VU): 2-6, 6-1, 5-3 5: Gordon Watson (UF) def. Kris Yee (VU): 6-4, 1-6, 6-1* 6: McClain Kessler (UF) def. Alex Ross (VU): 6-2, 6-3

Records: Florida (16-6, 11-2), Vanderbilt (17-13, 7-7)