ATHENS, Ga. — In front of an energized home crowd, the Georgia men’s tennis team upset the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes 4-0 Wednesday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The No. 21 Bulldogs, who improved to 7-4, erupted for a win against the team’s highest-ranked opponent of the season. Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz crafted three new doubles lineups to challenge the Buckeyes and altered the singles lineup as well. His creativity paid off, as Georgia claimed the doubles point and three singles wins, two of those coming against top-40 opponents.
“We showed a lot of grit and a lot of toughness coming off the heels of a disappointing weekend. It was a gut check for us,” Diaz said. “It wasn’t so much about playing great but it was about setting a standard for ourselves that we’ve fallen short of lately as a program. But that’s the nature of sports, you’re going to lose some when you play good and be outplayed on given days. But we didn’t lay down, we never do, and we showed what we’re capable of today.”
In doubles, juniors Walker Duncan and Jan Zielinski teamed up on court one to down the 7th-ranked pair of Martin Joyce and Mikael Torpegaard, 6-0. For the Georgia duo, it was their first pairing since fall 2016. They finished the fall slate with an 8-1 record, highlighted by a doubles tournament win at the 2016 Southern Intercollegiates in Athens.
Senior Wayne Montgomery and sophomore Nathan Ponwith claimed the deciding win on court two. With the score tied at two, the pair surged to a 6-3 win, fighting through a long rally on deuce point to secure the victory over John McNally and JJ Wolf. The match was Montgomery and Ponwith’s first together since a win vs. Utah State last season.
On court three, sophomore Robert Loeb and redshirt freshman Alex Diaz were knotted at five with Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert when the Bulldogs clinched the doubles point.
Georgia continued its spirited play by winning the first set on all six singles lines, including wins in four first-set tiebreakers. Zielinski earned the first win of the afternoon, finishing off 35th-ranked Kyle Seelig on court five with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win.
A little while after, Montgomery won a battle over second-ranked Mikael Torpegaard on court two. The senior cruised to the first set win in the contest, but dropped the second set 5-7. Montgomery dominated the third set, as he opened with a crucial break point and blanked Torpegaard, who entered with a 9-1 record in duals play, on the way to 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 final.
Loeb provided the deciding win on court six with a 7-6 (3), 7-5 victory. The sophomore clinched the first set with a 7-3 tiebreak and sealed Georgia’s win with a 7-5 second set shortly after Montgomery won.
Next up, the Bulldogs face another top-ranked foe, No. 5 Texas A&M, in the team’s SEC home opener. The match takes place on Sunday, March 11, at 1 p.m. and admission is free.
Tennis Match Results
Ohio State vs Georgia
March 7, 2018 at Athens, Ga.
(Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
#21 Georgia 4, #2 Ohio State 0
1. #47 Emil Reinberg (UGA) vs. #41 JJ Wolf (OSU) 7-6 (6), 4-5 (uf)
2. #24 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. #2 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) 6-1, 5-7, 6-0
3. #81 Nathan Ponwith (UGA) vs. #65 John McNally (OSU) 6-2, 2-6, 4-4 (uf)
4. #14 Walker Duncan (UGA) vs. Martin Joyce (OSU) 7-6 (4), 3-6, 2-3 (uf)
5. #21 Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. #35 Kyle Seelig (OSU) 7-6 (5), 6-3
6. Robert Loeb (UGA) def. Matt Mendez (OSU) 7-6 (3), 7-5
1. Walker Duncan/Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. #7 Martin Joyce/Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) 6-0
2. Wayne Montgomery/Nathan Ponwith (UGA) def. John McNally/JJ Wolf (OSU) 6-3
3. Alex Diaz/Robert Loeb (UGA) vs. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OSU) 5-5 (uf)
Ohio State 12-2; National ranking #2
Georgia 7-4; National ranking #21
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (5,2,6)
Official: Richard Rogers T-2:50 A-1172