Top-seeded UGA men’s tennis pair Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski continued their march through the NCAA Doubles Championships on Friday, advancing to the quarterfinals.
The Bulldog duo held serve each opportunity they had and got one break in each of the two sets to win 7-5, 6-4 against 56th-ranked Jack Findel Hawkins and Lasse Muscheites of North Florida. The last Georgia pair to make it to the quarterfinals was Austin Smith and Ben Wagland in 2015, who were also the top seed.
“Playing here at home is a big motivation,” said Zielinski. “A lot of people come out and support us. Being No. 1 in the country and being the No. 1 seed in the tournament means a lot. It puts a lot of pressure on our backs, but we enjoy it. We’re just trying to enjoy every single match here.”
The first set nearly got away from Loeb and Zielinski, who trailed 5-4 and were serving in an attempt to even the score. North Florida had two break points, but the Georgia duo won the next point and made it 40-40. On the no-ad point, North Florida sent an overhead shot long and the set was tied at 5-all. The break came in the next game before another Georgia hold won the set, 7-5.
“That was a big momentum change,” Zielinski said of the hold to make it 5-5. “We were down two set points. That was a big game we held, and I’m glad we got that break towards the end of the set. They helped a little bit, missing the overhead, but that happens.”
The break in the second set came with the game tied 2-2, and that was all Loeb and Zielinski needed for an advantage the rest of the way.
Bulldogs Loeb and Zielinski will face Charles Emhardt and Jeffrey Schorsch of Valparaiso at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. The pair from Valparaiso is ranked 41st and is on a run to the quarterfinals that includes a win against No. 9 Arthur Rinderknech and AJ Catanzariti from Texas A&M in the first round.
For the Doubles brackets, CLICK HERE.
Here are some pictures from both the men’s and women’s competition at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Click on the image to enlarge.