NCAA Mens Tennis

No. 18 MSU Opens SEC Slate With Win Over No. 19 Florida

No. 18 MSU Opens SEC Slate With Win Over No. 19 Florida

STARKVILLE – No. 18 Mississippi State started off Southeastern Conference with a bang on Thursday, taking down 19th-ranked Florida 5-2 inside the Rula Tennis Pavilion.

The win bolstered the Bulldogs’ record to 12-1 on the year and marked their second victory over a top 20 opponent this spring. It also gave MSU its first win over the Gators since the semifinals of the 2018 SEC Championships.

“Today was a little bit of the fruit of us practicing and believing in ourselves and pushing each other,” said head coach Matt Roberts. “We say ‘sharp teeth’ because of our grittiness and determination. That’s just where we’re at right now. It’s been a lot of fun. The culture of this team right now is the best vibe we’ve had since the Nuno Borges teams when we won the SEC Tournaments.”

State’s first win of the match was even more historic. Petar Jovanovic and Gregor Ramskogler defeated Nate Bonetto and Tanapatt Nirundorn 7-5 to push Ramskogler into the top spot in the Bulldog annals with his 61st career dual match doubles victory.

Ramskogler, a graduate from Austria, has teamed with 11 different doubles partners during his record-setting career.

“It obviously feels really, really great,” Ramskogler said. “I’ve had a few partners along the way that were definitely part of the journey. You don’t win doubles alone so shout out to all of my partners.”

Florida’s Jonah Braswell and Lukas Greif evened things up with their 6-4 win over Michal Novansky and Benito Sanchez Martinez meaning it would all come down to the ranked matchup on Court 1.

No. 33 Carles Hernandez and Nemanja Malesevic managed to take down 31st-ranked Will Grant and Axel Nefve 6-3 to secure the pivotal doubles point for the Bulldogs. It was the sixth-straight win for Hernandez and Malesevic as a team as well as the fifth time they’ve clinched a doubles point and defeated a ranked opponent this season.  

“That was just huge for our doubles confidence,” Roberts said. “We had three courts in a really good position to win and we able to get two of the three. You can take that (confidence) into singles and lock in.”

That seemed to be exactly what Hernandez did as the 113th-ranked singles competitor from Spain made short work of 83rd-ranked Bonetto 6-2, 6-2 to push Mississippi State’s lead out to 2-0.

Sanchez Martinez would later give the…

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