PALM SPRINGS, Calif. --- The Georgia men's tennis team had a dominant day of singles play during day one of the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., going a combined 7-1 in what serves as the unofficial start to the spring season for the sixth-ranked Bulldogs.
Several of the top men's and women's collegiate programs from around the country are competing in the 34th annual tournament this weekend, in addition to many highly-ranked individuals from schools not participating. Teams joining Georgia are second-ranked and four-time defending national champions Southern California, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 13 Ole Miss, and No. 14 California.
"We had a great day," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "We started slow in doubles, but as the day went on the guys raised their game. I think some of it had to do with getting acclimated to the surface and everything, and they'll need to do a better job of getting going. But in singles we had a terrific day. I am proud of all the guys - they just played some outstanding tennis. I thought some of the guys went about it with a more businesslike approach, but everyone got better as the day went on."
The event began with doubles, where the Bulldogs went 2-2 in their four matches on the day. The team of KU Singh and Nathan Pasha took down the nation's No. 7 doubles team of Ben McLachlan and Riki McLachlan of California by an 8-4 score, while Georgia also got an 8-7 tiebreaker victory from Casey Kay and Eric Diaz over USC's Nick Hoyle and Corey Smith.
Georgia's Garrett Brasseaux and Marco Nunez fell 8-4 to Ole Miss' Johan Backstrom and Stefan Lindmark. Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters suffered a 7-3 loss to another Rebel duo in Adriana Forberg Skogeng and William Kallberg, 8-7(3).
In singles, the Bulldogs came out firing, getting wins on seven of eight courts. Georgia's trio of top-20 ranked singles players each emerged victorious, including No. 8 Singh with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Ole Miss' Lindmark, No. 16 Pieters' 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Cal's Riki McLachlan, and 19th-ranked Pasha's 6-1, 6-1 decision over Backstrom.
Georgia's hot streak in singles continued as Diaz downed Smith 6-1, 6-2, Brasseaux beat Hoyle 6-1, 6-2, Nunez defeated Ole Miss' Zach Wilder 6-0, 6-4, and Wagland downed Ben McLachlan 6-3, 6-4. Kay suffered a tough three-set loss to Forberg Skogeng, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
The Bulldogs continue action tomorrow beginning with doubles at 12:30 p.m. ET. Singles will immediately follow. Following the NCTC, Georgia opens the dual match season Jan. 25-26 with the ITA Kickoff in Athens.