Ben Shelton wins national title as Florida Gators men’s tennis captures back-to-back singles crowns

By OnlyGators.com Staff
May 28, 2022
Ben Shelton wins national title as Florida Gators men’s tennis captures back-to-back singles crowns
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Image Credit: NCAA Tennis

History was made Saturday as the Florida Gators became the first men’s tennis program since 2004-05 to have different competitors win back-to-back NCAA Division I Men’s Singles National Championships. No. 2-ranked Ben Shelton defeated No. 6-ranked August Holmgren of San Diego 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to clinch the championship.

Shelton, a sophomore and the son of men’s tennis coach Bryan Shelton, joins Sam Riffice (2021), Jeff Morrison (1999) and Mark Merklein (1994) as Gators singles champions.

Shelton and Riffice going back-to-back makes them the first pair of teammates to do so since Benjamin Becker and Benedikt Dorsch at Baylor (2004-05), and they are just the second duo to accomplish the feat in the last 40 years, also joining Jared Palmer and Alex O’Brien of Stanford (1991-92).

Unfortunately, Ben Shelton’s success comes a week after his team suffered an upset loss in the 2022 NCAA Tournament as it attempted to defend the first national championship in program history. No. 2 Florida ran through the first three rounds of the tournament, sweeping its first 12 sets against New Orleans, No. 29 Miami and No. 15 North Carolina — all competitions played in Gainesville, Florida.

However, UF fell in the quarterfinals at the hands of No. 7 Virginia in a 1-4 shocker. Shelton and Riffice, the fifth-ranked doubles team in the nation, was upset by their 61st-ranked UVA opponents; Riffice also lost his singles match.

No. 16 Florida women’s tennis similarly got eliminated from its NCAA Tournament two weeks ago. The Gators beat South Alabama 4-0 and No. 35 Florida State 4-1 before being swept by No. 1 North Carolina 0-4 in third-round action.

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