An early push in singles propels the fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldog Women’s Tennis Team to a 4-0 victory versus the Michigan State Spartans in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Friday afternoon at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Complex.
The Bulldogs advance to Saturday’s 1:00 p.m. championship match against Penn, who defeated Furman in the morning action. The winner earns a berth to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 9-12 in Madison, Wis.
“It was a great way to start the season,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. “I thought we played good tennis on all three courts for the doubles and got the early momentum with the first point of the match. Then, we kept it going in the singles. It was a good first match. Now, we have to rest, hydrate, and we look forward to competing again Saturday.”
After the Bulldogs seized the doubles point, singles wins followed from Elena Christofi, Katarina Jokic and lastly Marta Gonzalez for the clincher.
In doubles, Georgia’s sixth-ranked duo of Christofi and Morgan Coppoc finished first on court No. 2 with a 6-2 win over Habiba Shaker and Sara Kuuttila of MSU. The Bulldog twosome broke the Spartans’ serve on the first game to go up 1-0 and then both parties held until Georgia got another break at 5-2.
Shortly after, Mariana Gould hit back-to-back shots at the net that sealed the doubles point. Playing on court No. 3, the 24th-ranked tandem of Jokic and Gould improved to 13-3 overall. The match didn’t feature a break until the second to last game when Georgia cracked their opponents serve and held to close it out, 6-3.
Following the short break, the Bulldogs blitzed the Spartans in singles play by taking all first sets in the four-court indoor complex. Two Michigan State returns that landed in the net concluded the first two singles matches within a few minutes of each other. First, Christofi knocked off Emily Metcalf, 6-2, 6-1, on court No. 4, while Jokic, ranked 12th in ITA singles, overpowered Aslina Chua, 6-1, 6-2, in the top-court matchup. Jokic’s win marked her first collegiate dual victory and upped her overall record to 20-3.
“I thought we all played well today,” Jokic said. “It was our first match of the season, and I was super excited to be out there playing again in front of our fans. I was working on staying focused on the court and being ready for each point.”
The clincher occurred on court No. 3 with Gonzalez, ranked 55th in ITA singles, not yielding her serve throughout the 6-2, 6-2 win over Sara Kuuttila. The sophomore from Madrid, Spain locked up the first set on an ace out of the reach of Michigan State and secured the victory by letting a shot land just long.
Live scoring/video will be available throughout the tournament: CLICK HERE.
Women’s Tennis Match Results
Michigan State vs. Georgia
Friday, January 26, 2018
Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Courts
#4 Georgia defeats Michigan State 4-0
1. #12 Katarina Jokic (UGA) def. Aslina Chua (MSU) 6-1, 6-2
2. Kennedy Shaffer (UGA) vs. Habiba Shaker (MSU) 6-2, 5-4, unfinished
3. #51 Marta Gonzalez (UGA) def. Sara Kuuttila (MSU) 6-2, 6-2
4. Elena Christofi (UGA) def. Emily Metcalf (MSU) 6-2, 6-1
5. #55 Morgan Coppoc (UGA) vs. Davina Nguyen (MSU) 0-1, unfinished
6. Samantha Memije (MSU) vs. Mariana Gould (UGA) no result
1. Kennedy Shaffer/Annette Goulak (UGA) vs. Emily Metcalf/Davina Nguyen (MSU) 3-5, unfinished
2. #6 Morgan Coppoc/Elena Christofi (UGA) def. Habiba Shaker/Sara Kuuttila (MSU) 6-2
3. #24 Katarina Jokic/Mariana Gould (UGA) def. Lexi Baylis/Ava Thielman (MSU) 6-3
Michigan State 4-1
Georgia 1-0; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,1,3)
ITA Kick-Off 1st Round- Matches On 4 Courts.
Georgia plays Penn in Championship at 1:00 p.m. Saturday.
Michigan State plays Furman in Consolation at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
Official: Karen Badger-Mabry T-1:55 A-234