The Georgia men’s tennis team were bested by UCLA 4-3 on Saturday at the 2017 SEC/PAC-12 Showdown.
The Bulldogs battled back from an early deficit to tie the match at 3-3, before the sixth-ranked Bruins held on for a 4-3 victory.
Georgia, which will play No. 8 USC on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET at the Ring Tennis Complex, picks up its first loss of the season to move to 3-1, while UCLA improves to 5-0.
“Our guys competed well as always, but today we just had way too many missed opportunities,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “We did not play well in doubles and UCLA took advantage of their opportunities all day. That was the difference in the match. Tomorrow, the task gets even tougher with a really good USC team. Our guys have to be ready to go for a big challenge ahead.”
The day started with a split at the No. 2 and 3 doubles courts as the point came down to court No. 1, where the match would be decided in a tiebreaker. Georgia’s Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski battled the UCLA duo of Redlicki and Evan Zhu to a 6-6 score, before the Bruins held on for a 7-6 (3) win to go up 1-0.
Georgia then fell behind on the singles courts, where Zielinski lost, 6-4, 6-4 at the fifth position to build the Bruins’ advantage to 2-0.
From there, the Bulldogs reeled off two consecutive wins to climb back into the match — both coming in straight-set fashion as Nathan Ponwith won 6-4, 6-3, before Walker Duncan used a 6-4, 6-4 victory to knot the score at 2-2. Ponwith’s win is his fifth-straight this season for the back-to-back SEC Freshman of the Week.
Paul Oosterbaan and Wayne Montgomery finished within seconds of each other as the Bulldogs split the No. 4 and No. 1 courts. Oosterbaan dropped his match, 6-2, 6-4, to UCLA’s 90th-ranked Joseph Di Guilio. Meanwhile, Montgomery recorded his third-striaght win over a ranked opponent with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph against UCLA’s 11th-ranked Gage Brymer.
That set up Reinberg at the No. 2 singles court, where he was locked in a back-and-forth second-set battle. He could not force a third; however, as UCLA claimed the 4-3 victory.
1. Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. #54 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (UGA), 7-6 (3)
2. Joseph Di Giulio/Austin Rapp (UCLA) def. Wayne Montgomery/Nathan Ponwith (UGA), 6-2
3. Paul Oosterbaan/Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Gage Brymer/Maxime Cressy (UCLA), 6-4
1. #22 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. #11 Gage Brymer (UCLA), 7-5, 6-3
2. Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #31 Emil Reinberg (UGA), 7-5, 7-5
3. #124 Nathan Ponwith (UGA) def. Evan Zhu (UCLA), 6-4, 6-3
4. #90 Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA) def. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA), 6-2, 6-4
5. Logan Staggs (UCLA) def. #56 Jan Zielinski (UGA), 6-2, 6-3
6. Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Austin Rapp (UCLA), 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 3, 1); Singles (5, 3, 6, 4, 1, 2)