The No. 12 UGA men’s tennis team defeated No. 22 South Florida by a score of 4-1 on Saturday afternoon to advance to the round of 16 of the 2017 NCAA Championships.
With wins at the first and third doubles courts, the Bulldogs put the first point on the board, and Wayne Montgomery later clinched the match at the second singles court. The Bulldogs improve to 20-7 on the season, while the Bulls finish the season 18-9.
“I thought we played with great intensity,” said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz, “especially at one and three [doubles]. They seem to be playing well, and our guys carried that into singles. I thought the pit — 4-5-6 singles — really got off to good starts. It was good to see Emil and Wayne pull through. Wayne had a rough first set, didn’t play his best, and Justin [Roberts] played a very nice first serve, and really challenged Wayne. I was really glad to see Wayne keep his composure, and pull through that tiebreaker and wind up being the clinching match.”
The Bulldogs broke serve in the second game on both the second and third doubles courts. The early breaks both came from games in which South Florida did not win a point as the serving team. Through four games, the Bulldogs led each of the three courts by a score of 3-1.
After the second court got back on serve, the Bulldogs maintained leads on Nos. 1 and 3. Georgia struck first in doubles with a 6-2 win on the third court. Leading 5-2 with the game knotted at 40-40, Montgomery dropped a beautiful shot over the heads of the South Florida players, who sent the ball back into the net. Shortly after, the nation’s top-ranked duo of Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb held serve to win 6-3 and seal the doubles point.
In singles, taking on No. 99 Peter Bertran, Zielinski cruised through the first set, 6-1. A powerful volley at the net put won the set, the first of five opening frames the Bulldogs would eventually capture. The fifth came in dramatic fashion at the second court, where Montgomery won a tiebreaker, 10-8. He found himself down 8-7, but won the next three points to seal the set.
South Florida evened the match after No. 52 Sasha Gozun defeated 56th-ranked Nathan Ponwith at the first court, 6-2, 6-4. Shortly after, Emil Reinberg put the Bulldogs back ahead with a 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 3. Reinberg defeated No. 108 Alberto Barroso-Campos and is now 9-2 on the third court this season.
Robert Loeb made it 3-1 after a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 6. The All-American got ahead early in both sets and was steady on his way to victory. Montgomery got through the second set without as much resistance as he faced in the first, and his 7-6(8), 6-3 victory clinched the match for Georgia.
On Thursday, May 18, at 4 p.m., Georgia will take on the winner of today’s match between Southern California and Wisconsin. This was the 14th consecutive year in which the Bulldogs played host to the first and second rounds, and each time, they advanced to the round of 16. Georgia will also host the remaining portions of the men’s and women’s team tournaments as well as the singles and doubles individual championships. All the action resumes in Athens on May 18 and will conclude May 29.
NCAA MEN’S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Results from Round Two
Dan Magill Tennis Complex
1. #52 Sasha Gozun (USF) def. #56 Nathan Ponwith (UGA), 6-2, 6-4
2. #33 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. Justin Roberts (USF), 7-6(8), 6-3
3. #59 Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. #108 Alberto Barroso-Campos (USF), 6-3, 6-1
4. Jan Zielinski (UGA) vs. #99 Peter Bertran (USF), 6-1, 3-6, 4-2, unfinished
5. Walker Duncan (UGA) vs. Vadym Kalyuzhnny (USF), 6-3, 4-6, 1-1, unfinished
6. Robert Loeb (UGA) def. Jakub Wojcik (USF), 6-3, 6-4
1. #1 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (UGA) def. #44 Alberto Barroso-Campos/Sasha Gozun (USF), 6-3
2. Nathan Ponwith/Emil Reinberg (UGA) vs. Peter Bertran/Justin Roberts (USF), 4-5, unfinished
3. Walker Duncan/Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. Vadym Kalyuzhnny/Jakub Wojcik (USF), 6-2
Order of finish
Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,3,6,2)