The sixth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team (2-1) lost its first dual match of the season 6-1 on Saturday to No. 12 UCLA (4-0) at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The match was the first of the weekend at the annual SEC/Pac-12 Showdown, hosted this year by UCLA. Georgia defeated the fourth-ranked Bruins 4-2 at the 2015 Showdown held in Athens.
“We lost a close match today and I was impressed with UCLA,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “They certainly played better than we did today. We came back from 5-1 down in doubles at No. 3 and did a good job at No. 2 doubles. But unfortunately we just came up a little bit short today. We lost a couple of three-set matches and one in two tiebreakers. But while we played tough, UCLA was a little bit tougher than us.”
The Bulldogs competed without two lineup regulars in senior Nick Wood and freshman Walker Duncan due to injuries.
Georgia lost the doubles point in heart-breaking fashion after overcoming a large deficit. After losing 6-1 at No. 1, the Bulldogs’ Paul Oosterbaan and Jan Zielinski topped UCLA’s Joseph Di Giulio and Karue Sell 6-4 to leave the doubles point up to the third court. Georgia’s No. 45 pair of Emil Reinberg and Wayne Montgomery faced a 5-1 hole before storming back to take four straight games and later force a tiebreaker. The Bruins’ tandem of Gage Brymer and Austin Rapp would ultimately prevail in the tiebreaker 7-6(2) for the early UCLA advantage.
UCLA carried over momentum from the doubles point into singles play where the Bruins notched first-set victories on four of six courts. UCLA’s Di Giulio and Sell claimed two-set victories at Nos. 6 and 4, respectively, before the Bruins’ Mackenzie McDonald clinched the match at No. 1 by a score of 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. No. 48 Martin Redlicki topped Georgia’s No. 40 Oosterbaan in consecutive tiebreakers 7-6(3), 7-6(5) before the Bulldogs’ Wayne Montgomery earned a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. The Bruins’ Logan Staggs capped the scoring with a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 win.
The Bulldogs continue action at the SEC/Pac-12 Showdown on Sunday when they take on eighth-ranked USC at 1 p.m. ET.