The fifth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team dropped their second match in a row over the weekend, losing the USC Trojans Sunday morning 4-0 at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. The men also fell to UCLA on Saturday.
After winning the doubles point, USC took the first three decisions in singles to shutout the Bulldogs (3-2). This was Georgia’s second and final match in the SEC/Pac-12 Showdown following Saturday’s loss to UCLA.
“We just got beat up pretty bad today,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “USC outplayed us. They played a very good match, but these losses are on me and not on the boys. It’s a lot to ask the guys to go from a month of indoor tennis to outdoor matches with three days of practice. We get to go home and get back indoors, but the challenges mount as we have to go to Ohio State next week and then to National Indoors. This team is going to be okay. This team is working hard, getting better, and will be stronger from this weekend’s experience.”
The Trojans (6-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead after picking up two wins in doubles. Georgia’s pair of Wayne Montgomery and Nathan Ponwith dropped a 6-2 contest to Rob Bellamy and Jack Jaede on the No. 3 court. Paul Oosterbaan and Walker Duncan were tied 4-4 on court No. 2 with Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven before Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb, who are currently ranked 54th, fell 6-4 on No. 1 to Brandon Holt and Logan Smith.
In singles, Paul Oosterbaan was able to win the first set, 7-5, against No. 114 Thibault Forget. Oosterbaan had played just two matches during the 2016-17 season after missing the fall due to injury. His match was cut short in the second set after the Trojans picked up wins on Nos. 2, 5 and 6.
“Paul is beginning to get the reps that he needs,” Diaz said. “He’s playing better. It’s going to take a few matches, but I definitely saw improvement from him this weekend.”
Wayne Montgomery had forced a third set against #28 Logan Smith at No. 1, fighting back from losing the first set 6-3 to take the second by the same score. Montgomery had won three straight matches against ranked opponents entering today’s match following a win over No. 11 Gage Brymer of UCLA yesterday.
Georgia’s matches this weekend on Florida’s campus were the first two in a stretch of three against teams currently ranked in the top-10 of the Oracle/ITA rankings. The Bulldogs will travel to Columbus, Ohio next weekend to take on No. 3 Ohio State. The match will be played Sunday, Feb. 12 at 12 p.m.
1. Brandon Holt/Logan Smith (USC) def. #54 Jan Zielinski/Robert Loeb (Georgia), 6-4
2. Paul Oosterbaan/Walker Duncan (Georgia) vs. Nick Crystal/Laurens Verboven (USC), 4-4, unfinished
3. Rob Bellamy/Jack Jaede (USC) def. Wayne Montgomery/Nathan Ponwith (Georgia), 6-2
1. #22 Wayne Montgomery (Georgia) vs. #28 Logan Smith (USC), 3-6, 6-3, 2-0, unfinished
2. #20 Brandon Holt (USC) def. #31 Emil Reinberg (Georgia), 6-1, 6-4
3. #124 Nathan Ponwith (Georgia) vs. #88 Nick Crystal (USC), 1-6, 6-5, unfinished
4. Paul Oosterbaan (Georgia) vs. #114 Thibault Forget (USC), 7-5, 2-5
5. Jack Jaede (USC) def. #79 Walker Duncan (Georgia), 6-1, 7-6(4)
6. Rob Bellamy (USC) def. Robert Loeb (Georgia), 6-2, 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (3, 1); Singles (6, 2, 5)