The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Florida Men Win SEC Tennis Tournament Championship

31 days ago
Photo: Tony Walsh

ATHENS, Ga. (April 24,2022) - After making their 11th SEC Championship finals appearance, the No. 3 Florida Gators sweep the SEC after winning both the regular season and tournament titles with a 4-0 victory against the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. This win marks the sixth tournament title for Florida, while sophomore Ben Shelton became the fifth Gator in program history to be named the Tournament MVP.

Florida (23-2) came out strong again in doubles play against the Wildcats (21-7), earning their 18th-consecutive doubles point. After providing the clinching doubles match yesterday against No. 5 Tennessee, the tandem of Nate Bonetto and Duarte Vale continued their winning ways with a 6-3 victory over No. 55 Liam Draxl and Alexandre Leblanc at court three, making it their first ranked doubles win of the season.

Clinching the team's 20th doubles point of the season was the No. 10-ranked duo of Sam Riffice and Ben Shelton at court one. Taking on No. 75 Francois Musitelli and Millen Hurrion, the Gators duo only allowed their opponents to win two games for a 6-2 victory. They now have 15 total doubles wins on the season with nine coming against ranked teams.

Needing three singles wins to claim the SEC Tournament title, the Gators put their foot on the gas and never let up, claiming five of the six first sets.

First off the court was No. 116 player Josh Goodger, who pulled off an impressive straight-set win at court six against JJ Mercer, 6-4, 6-1. With this victory, Goodger reached the 100 career singles wins milestone and totals 17 singles wins on the year.

No. 27 Riffice had one of his best matches of the year as he took on No. 16 Gabriel Diallo at court two, winning in two sets by 6-3 scores. Riffice moves to 18-5 on the dual season and 15-1 at the two position, while adding his seventh ranked victory.

It was No. 1-ranked Shelton, who for the sixth time this year, would clinch the match for the Gators. Taking on No. 8 Draxl at the one spot, Shelton had a tall task ahead of him, but stepped up big time. The Gainesville native defeated the Wildcat by a score of 6-4, 7-5 for his 30th singles win and 20th ranked victory of the season.

Florida moves to 23-2 overall and extends their win streak to 18 matches. The Gators are also 19-2 against ranked teams and have an impressive nine wins over teams in the top-10. In addition, for the third time in Florida tennis history, the Gators won both the regular season and SEC Tournament in the same year (2000, 2005, 2022).

NOTABLES

  • Florida made its 11th SEC Tournament final appearance, winning its sixth tournament title in program history and first since 2016.
  • Florida won the SEC Tournament championship in 1994, 2000, 2005, 2011, 2016 and 2022.
  • Ben Shelton joins Jeff Morrison (2000), Ryan Sherry (2005), Alexandre Lacroix (2011) and Gordon Watson (2016) to win the SEC Tournament MVP award.
  • Senior Duarte Vale was also named to the All-Tournament team.
  • The Gators move to 2-0 against the Wildcats in the championships finals as Florida faced Kentucky one other time in 2011, pulling out a 4-0 win in that match.
  • Since 2000 when the SEC began awarding a regular season title, Florida was the conference champions in both the regular season and in the SEC Tournament three different times: 2000, 2005 and 2022.