ATHENS, Ga. – The No. 20 Georgia Bulldogs welcome the No. 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Auburn Tigers for a conference weekend series at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Georgia (9-7, 2-5) will play host to Mississippi State (12-1, 6-0) on Friday at 5 p.m., before capping the weekend on Sunday with Auburn (10-12, 0-6) at 1 p.m.
Coming off a weekend split with LSU and now-No. 19 Tennessee, the Bulldogs face their eighth ranked opponent in the last nine contests with Mississippi State. All but two Georgia opponents since the start of the ITA Team Indoors have been featured in the Oracle/ITA Rankings this season.
The Bulldogs from Starkville have dropped one contest this year, which came at the end of January against now-No. 18 Oklahoma State. Since, Mississippi State has won eight straight contests with the help of No. 3 Nuno Borges, who totals a 10-2 singles clip in dual play this season.
After the Georgia-Mississippi State matchup, the Bulldogs play host to the Auburn Tigers on Easter Sunday. Auburn looks for its first conference win this weekend, heading to Knoxville, Tennessee for the 19th-ranked Volunteers before facing Georgia at Dan Magill.
On Friday, the first 400 fans will receive a head coach Manuel Diaz bobblehead, and on Sunday, there will be an egg hunt for kids in eighth grade and below once singles begin.
Live scoring and streaming will be available for both matches: http://gado.gs/8dx
MONTGOMERY PACING SINGLES ACTION
The veteran of the six singles courts, Montgomery leads the Bulldogs with a 26-12 record on the season. 9-6 in dual play, Montgomery has been a factor on both the first and second courts. After winning five of the last six matches on the second court – the only loss came against now-No. 6 Arthur Rinderknech of Texas A&M – Montgomery returns to the first court to face off with the third-ranked Nuno Borges. Borges will not be Montgomery’s highest-ranked opponent this season: the senior topped then-No. 2 Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State in Georgia’s 4-0 shutout in February.
THE COMMON DOUBLES DENOMINATORS
After a 19-9 record on the second court his sophomore year, junior Jan Zielinski has remained on the first doubles court the past two years. Thanks to Robert Loeb, Zielinski’s doubles counterpart, the 2017 season ended in All-American fashion. With 38 doubles wins in a single season, Zielinski matched John Isner at third in the Georgia record books. Zielinski is now ranked in the top-25 on two different doubles teams, one with Loeb and the other with Walker Duncan.
Wayne Montgomery has also showcased his consistency in doubles on the second court, with a team-best 18-8 overall clip on the year, and 10-4 in dual play. Teamed with both Duncan and Ponwith over the year, the current Montgomery-Ponwith tandem has provided two clinching matches in doubles since their pairing, and has won the last three matches.
CONSISTENCY KEY FOR LOWER COURTS
The fourth, fifth and singles courts have combined for a 26-11 clip on the dual play season. The three courts have featured six different Bulldogs. The mainstays include Walker Duncan, Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb. Zielinski and Duncan lead the charge with respective 12 and seven wins , with the pair only dropping a combined three singles contests since January. The lower courts have also clinched all but two matches this season: Zielinski and Loeb have each closed out three matches apiece, with a trio of clinching contests all coming from Loeb.
GEORGIA FLEXES DEPTH IN DUAL PLAY
Seven different Bulldogs have posted wins in singles this year, with three different Georgia players taking turns on the sixth court. Georgia is the only team in the ITA/Oracle Tennis Rankings to total six ranked singles players. Top-ranked Wake Forest and Texas A&M follow with five ranked players in the singles lineup.
GEORGIA AGAINST TOP-RANKED OPPONENTS
The Bulldogs responded to a two-loss weekend in SEC play by shutting out the second-ranked team in the country, Ohio State. The last time Georgia found success against a top-two team came in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, when the No. 7 Bulldogs blanked the second-ranked North Carolina Tarheels to advance to the Final Four. In regular season play, the Bulldogs’ knockoff of Ohio State marks the highest-ranked opponent Georgia has topped since 2014, when the Buckeyes fell 4-3 as the No. 1 team in the country. That year, the Bulldogs were ranked No. 16 at the time –and beat the top squad in a five and a half hour match that was moved indoors due to high winds. After Ohio State, Georgia continued its stint of top-ranked opponents with the No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies the following match. The dropped battle marked the first loss at home since the top-ranked University of Southern California Trojans bested the Bulldogs, 4-3, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on February 1, 2015.