ATLANTA --- The No. 6 Georgia men's tennis team rebounded from a lost doubles point, winning five of six first sets in singles en route to a commanding 5-2 win over 65th-ranked Georgia Tech Friday afternoon at the brand new Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta.
With the win the Bulldogs improve to 4-1 on the season, dropping their in-state rival to 2-4. Georgia is now 59-9 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, good for its highest win total against any opponent in history. The win also avenged the Bulldogs' 4-3 loss to Tech in Atlanta in 2011, a setback that snapped a 24-match winning streak for UGA in the rivalry series.
"I'm really proud of the way we competed," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "Georgia Tech played an outstanding doubles point, and their coach told me afterward that was the best doubles they've played this year. They really just seized momentum right off the bat. They won three 3-all points in each of those, and out of those nine points they won eight. It was tough for us, and we have to do better in those situations. I know we will. But I was so encouraged coming out to singles with the great competitive desire from the guys - they were ready to compete. They stepped up and took control of their matches on all courts. It's a great victory for us. We're continuing to grow as a team and this is a great match to have going into National Indoors."
Georgia got off to a slow start in doubles and the Yellow Jackets came away with the early point, snagging wins at Nos. 1 and 2 to take a 1-0 lead. The No. 3-ranked team of Juan Spir and Vikram Hundal emerged with an 8-4 win over No. 5 Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland at No. 1, while Tech got the clinching decision via an 8-5 win for Juan Melian and Nathan Rakitt at No. 2 over Nathan Pasha and Marco Nunez. The doubles match on court three went unfinished with Georgia's Eric Diaz and Garrett Brasseaux trailing Eduardo Segura and Colin Edwards, 7-6.
The Bulldogs quickly evened things up at 1-1 as freshman Ben Wagland cruised to a speedy 6-1, 6-1 win over Hundal at No. 3, the freshman's 12th win of the season and fourth in dual match play. Georgia took a 2-1 lead when Brasseaux posted a 6-1, 6-1 win over Anish Sharma at No. 6, and rookie Nick Wood increased the lead to 3-1 with his 6-3, 6-2 win over Rakitt at No. 4.
The Bulldogs got their fourth straight point of the day and the match clincher on court one, where 19th-ranked Pasha posted a 6-2, 6-3 win over Melian to make it 4-1 and secure the road victory.
Georgia Tech earned its lone singles win at No. 2 as 32nd-ranked Spir downed No. 16 Pieters, 6-3, 5-4, but Austin Smith provided Georgia with another point as he went 6-2, 6-3 over Segura at No. 5, sealing the 5-2 win.
The Bulldogs will return to action next week as they travel to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, set for Feb. 15-18 in Seattle. The draw - which includes 16 top teams from around the nation vying for an indoor championship - will be released Tuesday.
#6 Georgia 5, #65 Georgia Tech 2
1. #19 Nathan Pasha (UG) def. Juan Melian (GT) 6-2, 6-3
2. #32 Juan Spir (GT) def. #16 Hernus Pieters (UG) 6-3, 5-4
3. Ben Wagland (UG) def. Vikram Hundal (GT) 6-1, 6-1
4. Nick Wood (UG) def. Nathan Rakitt (GT) 6-3, 6-2
5. Austin Smith (UG) def. Eduardo Segura (GT) 6-2, 6-3
6. Garrett Brasseaux (UG) def. Anish Sharma (GT) 6-1, 6-1
1. #3 Juan Spir/Vikram Hundal (GT) def. #5 Hernus Pieters/Ben Wagland (UG) 8-4
2. Juan Melian/Nathan Rakitt (GT) def. Nathan Pasha/Marco Nunez (UG) 8-5
3. Eduardo Segura/Colin Edwards (GT) vs. Eric Diaz/Garrett Brasseaux (UG) 7-6, unfinished
Georgia 4-1; National ranking #6
Georgia Tech 2-4; National ranking #65
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (3,6,4,1,2,5)