NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In the opener of the penultimate conference weekend, Vanderbilt nearly stunned the top-ranked Florida Gators at the Currey Tennis Center but ultimately fell 4-3 on Friday afternoon.
“We gave the No. 1 team in the nation all they could handle and in the process gave ourselves a chance for an upset victory,” said head coach Ian Duvenhage. “It’s been a difficult year but I’m proud of the way we competed today, as I was last weekend against Tennessee and Georgia. I am also encouraged by the fact that we are getting better. Winning the doubles point showed us what we are capable of. I’m happy for Jeremie Casabon with his big win and especially happy for Max Freeman, who has faced so much adversity this year. There is no quitting in this group of guys.”
The Commodores (6-12, 0-9) claimed the doubles point behind thrilling, identical 6-4 wins from Freeman and George Harwell at No. 1 and Casabon and Connor Robb-Wilcox at No. 3. Harwell and Freeman’s opposition came into the match ranked 16th in doubles and the duo earned Vanderbilt’s first doubles win. With the point coming down to Vandy’s pair of freshmen, the duo came through to clinch the 1-0 lead.
Florida (16-1, 10-0) seized early singles momentum by taking the first three matches in straight sets to take a 3-1 lead. Looking to come back, the Commodores took a point back courtesy of Freeman’s 6-2, 7-5 win at No. 5. Trying to level the match, Harwell put together a second-set comeback to force a decisive third set on No. 1. While he battled back after breaks in the third, Harwell ultimately fell to his Gator opposition, third-ranked Duarte Vale.
While Florida had the match clinched with Vale’s win, Casabon went the distance at No. 3 and earned the biggest win of his career to date over eighth-ranked Andy Andrade 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
Vanderbilt will wrap up the weekend on Sunday when it hosts No. 10 South Carolina. First serve at the Currey Tennis Center will take place at noon.
1. #3 Duarte Vale (UF) def. George Harwell (VANDY) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
2. #17 Sam Riffice (UF) def. Marcus Ferreira (VANDY) 6-0, 6-0
3. Jeremie Casabon (VANDY) def. #8 Andy Andrade (UF) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
4. #34 Blaise Bicknell (UF) def. Macsen Sisam (VANDY) 6-4, 6-0
5. Max Freeman (VANDY) def. Ben Shelton (UF) 6-2, 7-5
6. #94 Josh Goodger (UF) def. Joubert Klopper (VANDY) 6-3, 6-2
1. George Harwell/Max Freeman (VANDY) def. #16 Johannes Ingildsen/Will Grant (UF) 6-4
2. Duarte Vale/Josh Goodger (UF) def. Marcus Ferreira/Adam Sraberg (VANDY) 6-2
3. Jeremie Casabon/Connor Robb-Wilcox (VANDY) def. Andy Andrade/Ben Shelton (UF) 6-4
Florida 16-1, 10-0 SEC; National ranking #1
Vanderbilt 6-12, 0-9 SEC
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (2,4,5,6,1,3)