ATHENS, Ga.--The No. 6 Georgia women's tennis team began its dual match season Sunday with a 4-1 win over No. 72 Columbia at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Courts on first day of the ITA Kickoff in Athens.
"We're happy to get the win and have the opportunity to play tomorrow for a chance to go to Virginia (for National Indoors)," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "But Columbia is a good team and they kept the match tight the entire time. It's great to get this first win and I'm proud of the way we fought. I thought we played some good tennis."
Georgia won the doubles point and then won three singles matches to win its first match of the year.
Georgia's 22nd-ranked pair of Maho Kowase and Lilly Kimbell topped Columbia's Lauren Stratman and Kanika Vaidya , 8-3. The duo is now 8-1 this year. Columbia's Crystal Leung and Nicole Bartnik evened the doubles score with an 8-6 win over Georgia Lauren Herring and Mia King. Shortly after, Kate Fuller and Silvia Garcia clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win over the duo of Bianca Sanon and Tiana Takenaga.
In singles, the Bulldogs' Garcia gave Georgia a 2-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-2 win over the Lions' Stratman. Shortly after, Columbia's Vaidya, ranked 85th nationally, topped Georgia's 54th-ranked Fuller, 6-2, 6-2. The loss is only Fuller's third of the year.
Later, Kowase, who's ranked 18th in the country, put Georgia up 3-1 with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Columbia's 81st-ranked Sanon. Kowase improves to 19-5 this year, including eight wins against ranked opponents.
Eighth-ranked Herring clinched the match for Georgia with a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over 24th-ranked Bartnik. Herring trailed 4-2 in the first set before surging back to a 7-5 first set victory. She improves to 21-2 this year.
With the match outcome already decided, the two remaining matches in progress were suspended with Georgia leading on both courts. King led Alecsiu 6-2, 3-2 and Kimbell led Leung 6-4, 3-1.
The Bulldogs will play No. 70 Georgia State Monday at 2 p.m. with the winner advancing to the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors in Charlottesville, Va.. Georgia is hosting one of the 15 legs of the ITA Kickoff, with the winner of each site advancing to ITA Team Indoors Feb. 8-11. Georgia has won the National Indoor Championship three times.
Live scoring for both matches will be available on Georgiadogs.com.
#6 Georgia 4, #73 Columbia 1
1. #8 Lauren Herring (UGA) def. #24 Nicole Bartnik (COL) 7-5, 7-6 (4)
2. #18 Maho Kowase (UGA) def. #81 Bianca Sanon (COL) 7-5, 6-4
3. #85 Kanika Vaidya (COL) def. #54 Kate Fuller (UGA) 6-2, 6-2
4. Silvia Garcia (UGA) def. Lauren Stratman (COL) 6-2, 6-2
5. Mia King (UGA) vs. Ioana Alecsiu (COL) 6-2, 3-2, unfinished
6. Lilly Kimbell (UGA) vs. Crystal Leung (COL) 6-4, 3-1, unfinished
1. Kate Fuller/Silvia Garcia (UGA) def. #37 Bianca Sanon/Tiana Takenaga (COL) 8-6
2. Nicole Bartnik/Crystal Leung (COL) def. Mia King/Lauren Herring (UGA) 8-6
3. #22 Lilly Kimbell/Maho Kowase (UGA) def. Lauren Stratman/Kanika Vaidya (COL) 8-3
Columbia 0-1; National ranking #73
Georgia 1-0; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,3,2,1)