Jan Zielinski during the Bulldog Scramble at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, November 5, 2016. (Photo by John Paul Van Wert)
A capacity crowd at the Byers Tennis complex watched as the sixth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team rolled to a 5-2 victory against Georgia Tech Friday evening to bring up the curtain on the 2017 dual-match season.
Georgia has now 30 of the last 31 meetings and improves its all-time record to 63-9 against against the Yellow Jackets. The Bulldogs are 1-0 this season and return home to host the ITA Kickoff Weekend on Jan. 27-29.
“It’s a super start to this year,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “We knew Georgia Tech had a very good, talented team and are very well coached. To get the doubles win was extremely important. In singles, freshmen Robert Loeb and Nathan Ponwith played well, and I was just really pleased with our whole team up and down the line tonight.”
Georgia split with the Yellow Jackets at the No. 2 and 3 doubles courts as the team of Andrew Li and Cole Fiegel downed Georgia’s 41st-ranked pair of Wayne Montgomery and Emil Reinberg, 6-0. The Bulldogs quickly answered back with Walker Duncan and Ponwith running out to a 6-2 victory against Tech’s tandem of Daniel Yun and Michael Kay.
The Bulldogs then settled the doubles point thanks to the 54th-ranked tandem of Jan Zielinski and Loeb, who delivered a 6-4 triumph. With Loeb serving, Zielinski hit winners on the the last three points to give Georgia the early 1-0 advantage.
Ponwith came out strong to begin singles play and gave his team a 2-0 cushion with a 6-0, 6-1 victory against Daniel Yun. Carlos Benito then gave GT its first point of the day with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Zielinski. With the match at 2-1 in the Bulldogs’ favor, ninth-ranked Christopher Eubanks defeated Montgomery, 7-6 (2), 6-4 to even the contest at 2-2.
Once again, it was a freshman who helped the Bulldogs bounce back — the time it was Loeb who put his team up 3-2 with an impressive 6-2, 6-4 victory at the sixth court. That win was quickly followed by Reinberg’s match-clincher at the No. 2 position.
Georgia will now open the ITA Kickoff Weekend this coming Friday at 1 p.m. ET vs. Purdue.