Jacksonville Sports Day

LOOKING BACK: Gators Men’s Tennis Summer Recap

Sam Riffice / UF UAA Communications photo by Nati Rodriguez

GAINESVILLE – Shortly after the Gators’ Final Four run in the NCAA tournament and participation in the NCAA Individual Championships, members of the Florida men’s tennis team embarked on a busy offseason comprised of various summer tournaments and competition, in addition to daily training on campus.

Highlighted by sophomore Sam Riffice’s first pro title at the Wichita Tennis Open and his participation in the 2019 Pan American Games with Team USA, the likes of several Gators were prevalent this summer among the ITA Summer Circuit, ATP Challenger Tour, and ITF Pro and Junior Circuits, in preparation for a highly anticipated 2019-20 campaign.

Sam Riffice
ITA Singles All-American and 2019 SEC Freshman of the Year, Riffice reinforced a strong rookie campaign with an eventful summer over the past couple months. The second team All-SEC selection upped his game this summer in participating in several ITF and ATP pro tournaments while getting a taste of international competition with Team USA in the 2019 Pan American Games, hosted in Lima, Peru. Relatively fresh off an Elite Eight run in the NCAA Singles Championship, Riffice kicked off his summer in Wichita, Kansas, bringing home the singles title at the M25 Wichita Tennis Open (Jun. 10-16) over USC’s Brandon Holt. Just a week later (Jun. 17-23), he then followed up finishing as a finalist at the M25 Tulsa Pro Championships in Oklahoma. Next, Riffice (ATP No. 550) participated in the Nielsen Pro Tennis Championships (Jul. 8-14), an ATP Challenger event held in Winnetka, Illinois, before shifting his focus to Team USA and the Pan American Games.

Tennis competition in Lima began on July 29, as Riffice opened with a first round victory in singles over Uruguay’s Fancisco Llanes before falling to Barbados’ Darian King (ATP No. 185) in the second round. He also participated in Mixed Doubles competition for Team USA alongside UNC’s Alexa Graham. Team USA would see medals on the women’s side of competition, bringing home gold in women’s doubles and a silver medal in women’s singles competition. After competing in the Nordic Naturals Challenger, another ATP event, in Aptos, California (Aug. 5-11), Riffice capped the summer off receiving a wild card to play in the U.S. Open qualifying draw, in which he faced Stefano Napolitano (ATP No. 211) in first round play.

Oliver Crawford
Crawford, an ITA Singles All-American and first team All-SEC selection in 2019, spent the summer busy on the ITF Pro Circuit and ATP Challenger Tour as well. Crawford (ATP No. 581) competed in the Baptist Health Little Rock Open (Jun. 3-9), an ATP Challenger event held in Arkansas, to start before also joining Riffice at the M25 Wichita Tennis Open, where he finished as a quarterfinalist in the singles draw. Crawford would go on to display an impressive showing at the M25 Champaign (Jul. 22-28), held on the campus of University of Illinois, upsetting top-seeded Liam Broady (ATP No. 272) in the semifinals of the singles draw to advance as a finalist. He also finished as a quarterfinalist alongside Anderson Reed in the doubles draw in Champaign. Crawford then most recently competed in the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships (Jul. 29-Aug. 4), an ATP event held in Lexington, Ky., which completed his summer tournament slate upon entering the school year and upcoming fall season.

Greysen & Harrison Cacciatore
The Cacciatore brothers made their name known this summer playing on the ITA Summer Circuit, winning numerous singles and doubles titles along the way. Both started the summer off playing in the ITA event hosted at UCF in Orlando (Jun. 22-25), as Harrison Cacciatore won the singles title over William & Mary’s Oren Vasser while the two brothers finished as semifinalists in the doubles draw. The Cacciatores had another successful outing at the ITA event in Tallahassee (Jul. 6-7), hosted by Florida State, sweeping both singles and doubles draws as Greysen Cacciatore took home the singles title over East Carolina’s Nelson Stafford in addition to the duo winning the doubles title. The ITA Summer Circuit then eventually found its way to the Alfred A. Ring complex here at UF (Jul. 20-23), as Harrison would finish in the quarterfinals of the singles draw while finishing as a semifinalist in the doubles draw alongside Tulsa transfer Josh Goodger.

Andy Andrade
Andrade, a second team All-SEC and NCAA All-Tournament team selection in 2019, engaged in a summer full of development and training going into his junior year, as the Bradenton, Fla. native’s results showed in competition. Andrade competed in the ITA Summer Circuit event hosted here at UF on July 20-23, securing the singles title as a top seed in a competitive matchup with fellow Gator Josh Goodger.

Brian Berdusco
Berdusco is another Gator whose training had seemingly produced improvement over the course of the summer, sharing time between training on campus and traveling to compete in tournaments. Berdusco joined the presence of other fellow Gators at the ITA event held on campus on Jul. 20-23, finishing in the quarterfinals of singles and doubles play alongside teammate Johannes Ingildsen. Next, he set out for New Orleans, Louisiana to play in the $30,000 Tennis Fest Open (Aug. 1-4), where he produced a solid outing in reaching the finals, though, the matchup against Columbus State’s Kiranpal Pannu would go incomplete. Berdusco would then cap the summer off at the Oracle ITA National Championships (Aug 9-14), hosted at Texas Christian University, holding his own through the first two rounds to reach the round of 16.

Duarte Vale
Vale, the Gators most improved player in 2019, kicked off the summer overseas, competing in both singles and doubles competition at the M15 RE/MAX Lounge Setubal Open (Jun. 24-30) in Setubal, Portugal. A native of Cascais, Portugal, Vale finished as a semifinalist in the doubles draw, alongside Goncalo Falcao, falling to eventual champs Henry Craig (USA) and Bulgaria’s Simon Anthony Ivanov. Vale would return to Gainesville, steadily training day in and day out while also playing in the ITA event hosted on campus, where he would reach the quarterfinals of singles play.

Lukas Greif
Greif, coming off a solid rookie campaign as an all-freshman team SEC selection in 2019, spent the summer training extensively while making an appearance at the Pearson Ford Open, held at the Woodstock Club in Indianapolis, Indiana (Jun. 13-16). Slotted as a No. 4 seed in the singles draw, Greif would reach the semifinals of both the singles and doubles competition, partnered with UCLA’s Max Wild.

Johannes Ingildsen

Ingildsen, a second team All-SEC selection in 2019 and the team’s lone senior, spent the summer persistently training in preparing for his final season in the blue and orange. Compiling a team-best 29 overall singles wins this past spring, the Copenhagen, Denmark native also participated in the ITA event held on campus the weekend of Jul. 20-23. Placed as a No. 2 seed in the singles draw, Ingildsen finished in the semifinals against teammate Josh Goodger, while reaching the quarterfinals of the doubles draw alongside Brian Berdusco.

NEWCOMERS

Josh Goodger
Tulsa transfer Goodger got well acclimated to the swamp this summer in training with his new Gator teammates day in and day out. The former Hurricane also joined the rest of the crew in playing in the ITA event hosted at the Ring complex, as Goodger reached the finals of the singles draw, despite falling to Andy Andrade in three sets. Goodger also competed in the doubles draw alongside Harrison Cacciatore, in which the duo finished in the semifinals. A native of Wallington, England, Goodger’s presence has certainly added to the depth of talent that the Gators hold entering the 19-20 season.

Blaise Bicknell
Freshman Bicknell had himself an eventful summer of tennis prior to stepping foot on campus, as the Miami native was present in numerous ITF Junior tournaments overseas such as the J2 Tribuswinkel in Austria, JA Milan in Italy, and J1 Offenbach in Germany. After competing at the M15 Pittsford in Rochester, N.Y. (Jun. 24-30), Bicknell would display a dominant effort as a No. 1 seed in the ITF Jamaica Junior International in Kingston (Jul. 8-13), finishing as a finalist in the singles draw. He then made rounds to the Dominican Republic, where he would finish as a semifinalist competing in the singles draw of the J3 Santo Domingo (Jul. 15-20). Bicknell would cap the summer off playing at the Kalamazoo Boys’ 18 and 16 National Championships (Aug. 2-12), as he reached the quarterfinals of singles competition before finishing as a finalist in the consolation rounds with Georgia Tech’s Andres Martin.

Will Grant
Similar to Bicknell, freshman Grant was present among the ITF Junior circuit overseas this summer, competing at the JA Milan, Rolando Garros Junior Championships in France and J1 Nottingham. Grant’s summer activity was highlighted by his participation in The Junior Wimbledon Championships on Jul. 6-14, as the Orlando native reached the third round of the main singles draw before falling in three sets in a competitive matchup with Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz Garfia. He would then join the likes of Bicknell at the Kalamazoo Boys’ 18 and 16 National Championships (Aug. 2-12), earning a main draw singles win before advancing to the fourth round of consolation play, before ending the summer competing at the Cancun Tennis Cup in Mexico on Aug. 12-18.

Carroll Rich is Assistant, Communications with the University of Florida Athletic Association.

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