ATHENS, Ga. --- The fifth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team (12-4, 4-1) got a boost from three of its freshmen and downed 32nd-ranked South Carolina 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
“I think our team played great,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “I think our doubles was right on point against a very good South Carolina team. They won two tiebreakers once the match was decided, which was a little bittersweet. We would have liked to have won both of those, but that is the way it goes. Now I have to turn our attention to a really good Vanderbilt team on Friday and Kentucky on Sunday. Both of those teams are tied for a four way lead in the conference.”
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead when they fought for over an hour to capture the doubles point for the 12th time this season. At No. 3, KU Singh and Austin Smith struck first as they defeated Ben Barnette and Thiago Pinheiro 8-4. Harry Menzies and Kyle Koch of South Carolina quickly evened things up by defeating 39th-ranked Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseux in a hotly contested 9-7 match at No. 2. The doubles point then fell to No.1 where the fifth-ranked duo of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland provided the point clinching victory over 50th-ranked Tsvetan Mihov and Chip Cox 8-5.
At No. 6 singles, Marco Nunez extended the Georgia lead to 2-0 after a convincing 6-4, 6-0 win against Menzies. Nunez is now 5-0 in dual match play this season. Smith was next to add to the Bulldogs’ score when he ran away with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Cox and push the Georgia lead to 3-0. And it was another rookie - No. 71 Wagland – who marched back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set to win 6-2, 7-5 at No. 3 and clinch the match for the Bulldogs. It marked Wagland’s team leading fifth match clincher of the season.
With the match in hand, seventh-ranked Singh powered his way over 106th-ranked Mihov 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1. Singh is now 5-1 at the No. 1 singles position this season.
The Gamecocks continued to fight and salvaged two points at the end of the match. At No. 2, Andrew Adams claimed the first South Carolina point when he defeated 39th-ranked Pasha 3-6, 7-5, 1-0(10-6). Koch quickly followed suit and made the final score 5-2 by overcoming 101st-ranked Pieters 3-6, 7-5, 1-0(10-8) at No. 5.
With the win, Georgia is now 34-6 all-time vs. South Carolina, while the loss drops the Gamecocks to 10-6 (2-3) on the season. Georgia remains a perfect 9-0 at home this season and has won seven of its last eight outings.
The Bulldogs will travel to meet Vanderbilt and Kentucky next Friday and Sunday. Live scoring will be available for both matches on Georgiadogs.com.
5 Georgia 5, #32 South Carolina 2
1. #7 KU Singh (UG) def. #106 Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 6-4, 6-2
2. Andrew Adams (SC) def. #39 Nathan Pasha (UG) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-6)
3. #71 Ben Wagland (UG) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-2, 7-5
4. Austin Smith (UG) def. Chip Cox (SC) 6-4, 6-1
5. Kyle Koch (SC) def. #101 Hernus Pieters (UG) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-8)
6. Marco Nunez (UG) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 6-4, 6-0
1. #5 Ben Wagland/Hernus Pieters (UG) def. #50 Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 8-5
2. Harry Menzies/Kyle Koch (SC) def. #39 Nathan Pasha/Garrett Brasseaux (UG) 9-7
3. KU Singh/Austin Smith (UG) def. Thiago Pinheiro/Ben Barnette (SC) 8-4
South Carolina 11-7 (1-3); National ranking #32
Georgia 12-4 (4-1); National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,4,3,1,2,5)
Official: Walt Williams T-3:09 A-412