NCAA Mens Tennis

State Opens SEC Play With Top 20 Showdown

State Opens SEC Play With Top 20 Showdown

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State men’s tennis opens its Southeastern Conference slate on Thursday with a top 20 matchup on tap.

The 18th-ranked Bulldogs are set to host No. 19 Florida at 3 p.m. at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre with free t-shirts to the first 100 fans in attendance. In the case of inclement weather, matches will be moved indoors to the Rula Tennis Pavilion.

Although Thursday’s match marks the SEC opener for both teams, it will be the second time the two have squared off this season. The Gators claimed a 4-2 win in Gainesville on Jan. 28 as part of ITA Kickoff Weekend.

The loss is the only blemish on the Bulldogs’ record this season as Matt Roberts‘ squad enters conference play at 11-1 overall. MSU is coming off a doubleheader sweep of Tennessee Tech (7-0) and UAB (5-2) this past Saturday.

History could be made during the match as Gregor Ramskogler vies to become the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in dual match doubles wins. Ramskogler is currently tied with his former teammate Niclas Braun (2016-19) with 60 such victories.

Ramskogler is also knotted with Jeremy Bayon (1997-2000) for third all-time at State with 82 overall doubles wins.

The Bulldogs are led on the singles side by No. 107 Petar Jovanovic and No. 113 Carles Hernandez. Jovanovic is 17-3 overall has won 14 of his last 15 matches dating back to the fall while Hernandez is 15-3 and has prevailed in nine of his last 10 outings.

Hernandez and doubles partner Nemanja Malesevic are currently ranked 33rd nationally and have won five consecutive matches together. They have already knocked off three ranked tandems this season in addition to being tied for the team lead with three ranked singles wins apiece.

Florida (5-5) heads to Starkville having lost four of its last five matches but were victorious the last time out, downing then 10th-ranked Baylor 4-2 in Chicago on Feb. 19 as part of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

Mississippi State will be the seventh straight top 20 opponent the Gators have faced.

Florida’s singles lineup features four ranked competitors in William Grant (73), Jonah Braswell (79), Nate Bonetto (83) and Axel Nefve (109).

During their January meeting, Jovanovic downed…

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