The second ranked UCLA men's tennis team played a thriller on Sunday at USC's Marks Tennis Stadium, registering a 4-3 victory over No. 4 Georgia at the first-ever Pac-12/SEC Challenge. UCLA concludes the event with a 2-0 record, as the Bruins also defeated No. 11 Florida, 4-1 on Saturday.
Similar to its match with the Gators on Saturday, UCLA (5-0) surrendered the doubles point yet again on Sunday, suffering losses at court Nos. 2 and 3. After Georgia took a 6-3 win at the No. 2 position, the point was clinched at the No. 3 spot, where Eric Diaz and Austin Smith notched a 6-3 win over Dennis Mkrtchian and Karue Sell.
Although UCLA was able to reel off four-straight victories after losing the doubles point to Florida the previous day, it was apparent early on that Georgia was going to make the Bruins work a little bit harder on Sunday. In fact, the Bulldogs would go ahead 2-0 when 102nd-ranked Nick Wood dispatched of Mkrtchian, 6-5(4), 6-1 at court No. 5.
UCLA, however, stormed back to take the next two matches and tie the dual at 2-2. Gage Brymer, who is ranked No. 120 in singles, upset 47th-ranked Garrett Brasseaux, 6-2, 6-3 at court No. 4, while 11th-ranked Marcos Giron edged Smith in straight sets at court No. 1. Giron, ranked No. 11 nationally, fought off four set points in the first set to eventually win 6-5(7), 6-3.
The Bulldogs and Bruins would then trade victories, with 21st-ranked Nathan Pasha of Georgia downing 62nd-ranked Mackenzie McDonald at court No. 3, and top-ranked Clay Thompson besting 48th-ranked Ben Wagland at court No. 1.
Thompson's victory meant that the dual would be decided at court No. 6, where Bruin freshman Joseph Di Giulio was on serve early in the third set against Bulldog senior Hernus Pieters. With Pieters serving to stay in the match down 4-5, Di Giulio got the break, taking the match 6-0, 5-6(7), 6-4 to clinch the 4-3 victory for UCLA.
The 2014 Pac-12/SEC Challenge was the first of a four-year agreement between UCLA, Georgia, Florida and USC to play in the event. Georgia will host it in 2015, followed by UCLA in 2016 and Florida in 2017.
With the loss on Sunday, Georgia falls to 2-2 on the season. The Bulldogs lost to No. 3 USC, 4-0 on Saturday.
UCLA's next dual match is at St. Mary's on Feb. 8.
#2 UCLA 4, #4 Georgia 3Feb 02, 2014 at Los Angeles, CA (Marks Tennis Stadium)
Doubles1. #10 Giron/McDonald (UCLA) vs. #12 Wagland/Pieters (UGA) 5-4, unfinished
2. Brasseaux/Pasha (UGA) def. Di Giulio/Thompson (UCLA) 6-3
3. Eric Diaz/Smith (UGA) def. Mkrtchian/Karue Sell (UCLA) 6-3
Georgia Wins Doubles Point
Singles1. #11 Marcos Giron (UCLA) def. #12 Austin Smith (UGA) 6-5(7), 6-3
2. #1 Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. #48 Ben Wagland (UGA) 6-4, 6-5(4)
3. #21 Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. #62 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA) 6-5(3), 6-5(5)
4. #120 Gage Brymer (UCLA) def. #47 Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) 6-2, 6-3
5. #102 Nick Wood (UGA) def. Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) 6-5(4), 6-1
6. Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA) def. Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-0, 5-6(7), 6-4
Match NotesGeorgia 2-2; National ranking #4
UCLA 5-0; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (5,4,1,3,2,6)