[su_spacer size=”40″] The sixth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team earned its second victory in as many days at the ITA Kickoff to claim a berth in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February. The Bulldogs (2-0) topped Memphis (1-2) 4-1 on Sunday after defeating UC Santa Barbara on Saturday to claim one of 16 spots at Indoors.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “It’s certainly always good to overwhelm your opponent,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “But it’s also good to be challenged and to answer that challenge, and I thought our guys did that. We were pushed and challenged in both the doubles point as well as the singles. Losing the first set in three out of four singles hurt. It is something that we take a lot of pride in, but I’m proud of the way we fought back.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Senior Austin Smith clinched the match for the Bulldogs in a tight three-set victory against No. 87 Andrew Watson. Smith lost the first set to Watson, 7-5 and then found himself down in the tiebreaker, before staying alive with a 7-4 win in the tiebreaker set. Following wins by Walker Duncan and Paul Oosterbaan and a loss by Wayne Montgomery, all eyes turned to Smith’s third set, where he down Watson 7-5 to clinch UGA’s spot in the national indoor championships.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “We hung tough and overcame a tough situation,” Diaz added. “I was really proud of Austin, he found himself down three or four match points and fought through to give us the win.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Smith was not the only star for the Bulldogs in singles play. Duncan, who is in his freshman season at Georgia, moved to 2-0 in his rookie campaign with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Chris Patzanovsky from Memphis. Meanwhile, Oosterbaan picked up his first win of the dual match season with a 6-4 (5-7), 6-7, 6-3 triumph over Memphis’ Kai Lemke.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The day started on the doubles courts, where Georgia claimed the point after taking the matches on courts No. 1 and 3. The number 10-ranked tandem of seniors Smith and Ben Wagland defeated the Tigers’ Louis Asser and Kai Lemke 6-2. After the Bulldogs had fallen at No. 2, Montgomery and Emil Reinberg broke for the set at No. 3, 7-5, to clinch the doubles point.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia will head to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 12-15, but first will travel out West for the Pac-12/SEC Showdown to take on UCLA on Jan. 30, before battling USC on Jan. 31. The Bulldogs will then host Georgia Tech on Feb. 6 at three p.m. ET.
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[su_spacer size=”40″] #6 Georgia 4, #44 Memphis 1
[su_spacer size=”20″] Singles Results
[su_spacer size=”20″] 1. #28 Austin Smith (UGA) def. #87 Andrew Watson (MEMPHIS) 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5
2. Ryan Peniston (MEMPHIS) def. #20 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) 6-4 (12-10), 7-6
3. #40 Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) def. Kai Lemke (MEMPHIS) 6-4 (5-7), 6-7, 6-3
4. #105 Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Chris Patzanovsky (MEMPHIS) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
5. Jan Zielinski (UGA) vs. Felix Rauch (MEMPHIS) 6-4, 1-1, unfinished
6. Ben Wagland (UGA) vs. Shakeel Manji (MEMPHIS) 2-4, unfinished
[su_spacer size=”40″] Doubles Results
[su_spacer size=”20″] 1. #10 Austin Smith/Ben Wagland (UGA) def. Louis Asser/Kai Lemke (MEMPHIS) 6-2
2. Felix Rauch/Ryan Peniston (MEMPHIS) def. Paul Oosterbaan/Jan Zielinski (UGA) 6-2
3. #45 Emil Reinberg/Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. Shakeel Manji/Andrew Watson (MEMPHIS) 7-5
[su_spacer size=”40″] Match Notes:
[su_spacer size=”20″] Memphis 1-2; National ranking #44
Georgia 2-0; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (4,2,3,1)
ITA Kickoff Championship Match
Official: Clark Weaver Time: 3:18