ATHENS-----The second-ranked Georgia men's tennis team opened the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 win over Binghamton Friday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bulldogs will face Northwestern Saturday at 3 p.m. for a berth in the NCAA Championships to be held May 16-27 at the University of Illinois.
Freshman Austin Smith furnished the clincher for the Bulldogs (23-4), who will look to advance to the Round of 16 for the 10th straight year with a win Sunday.
"It was a good start for us," said UGA coach Manuel Diaz. "It was a sharp match after a couple weeks of no activity and final exams so I was pleased with our level. We played well on all three doubles courts and singles was quite good. I think we can gain a lot from this match and hopefully the next match we can bring it to the next level."
Georgia rolled in the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. First at No. 1, the fifth-ranked team of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland beat Bastian Bornkessel and Sid Hazarika, 8-1, then 15th-ranked Garrett Brasseaux and Nathan Pasha clinched the point at No. 2 with an 8-4 win over Ruben Haggai and Eliott Hureau. With their win at No. 1, Pieters and Wagland improved to 26-9, while Brasseaux and Pasha and Taboada moved to 17-6 on the season.
Eric Diaz and Marco Nunez led 7-4 at No. 3 when the doubles point was clinched.
Wagland extended the lead to 2-0 in singles as he cruised past Hazarika, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 1, then Nunez - another freshman - downed Hureau, 6-3, 6-2 at No. 6. Smith followed with his sixth match clincher of the season in a 6-2, 6-2 win over Lesage.
"I was happy again to be back on the court helping the team," Nunez said. "I was real happy today that I was able to help Georgia get the victory."
Matches at Nos. 2, 4 and 5 were suspended when the match was clinched. The Bulldogs won first sets on all three of those courts.
Georgia and Northwestern will square off in Saturday's second round, following the Georgia women's match against Winthrop. Northwestern earned a thrilling 4-3 win over Wake Forest earlier Friday.
Binghamton ends its season at 16-10.
Georgia 4, Binghamton 0
1. #5 Hernus Pieters/Ben Wagland (UGA) def. Bastian Bornkessel/Sid Hazarika (BU), 8-1
2. #15 Garrett Brasseaux/Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Ruben Haggai/Eliott Hureau (BU), 8-4
3. Eric Diaz/Marco Nunez (UGA) vs. Ismael Dinia/Robin Lesage (BU), 7-4, unfinished
Order of finish: 1,2
1. #33 Ben Wagland (UGA) def. Sid Hazarika (BU), 6-1, 6-2
2. #47 Nathan Pasha (UGA) vs. Alexander Maisin (BU), 6-2, 4-3, unfinished
3. Austin Smith (UGA) def. Robin Lesage (BU), 6-2, 6-2
4. #115 Hernus Pieters (UGA) vs. Ismael Dinia (BU), 6-3, 4-2, unfinished
5. Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) vs. Ruben Haggai (BU), 6-2,5-3, unfinished
6. Marco Nunez (UGA) def. Eliott Hureau (BU), 6-3, 6-2
Order of finish: 1,6,3*