MEN’S TENNIS: Georgia Claims SEC Championship

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MEN’S TENNIS: Georgia Claims SEC Championship

Paul Oosterbaan and Jan Zielinski talk during a doubles match during an NCAA match between Georgia and Tennessee on Friday, March 25, 2016 in Athens, Ga. (Photo by Emily Selby)

The sixth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team earned sole possession of the SEC regular-season title on Friday with a 5-2 road win against No. 12 Arkansas. The SEC Championship is Georgia’s 39th and sets up the Bulldogs as the top seed as they go for a 40th title in the upcoming SEC Tournament.
With the victory, Georgia remains perfect in SEC play and moves to 27-2 all-time against Arkansas. The Bulldogs won the doubles point, and notched victories at Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 6 to topple the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“I’m very proud of our guys,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “They battled very hard today against a very good Arkansas team. We played very well in doubles and that took a little pressure off of our guys going into singles, but Arkansas just didn’t let it get away. We were really forced to dig deep and once again this team refused to go away under pressure. Arkansas stepped it up in singles, but I’m really proud of this bunch and they have a lot to be proud of themselves.”
In doubles, Georgia’s pair of Paul Oosterbaan and Jan Zielinski set the tone with a quick 6-2 victory over Jose Salazar and Adam Sanjurjo at No. 2. The Bulldogs’ No. 3 duo of Wayne Montgomery and Emil Reinberg followed suit to clinch the point with a 6-4 win over Santiago Munoz and Johan den Toom.
After multiple tight first sets, Austin Smith tallied Georgia’s first singles victory of the day at No. 1. The senior, ranked 24th nationally, defeated No. 26 Mike Redlicki 7-6 (7-1), 6-3. Senior Nick Wood gave Georgia the 3-0 advantage with a 7-5, 6-1 dispatch of Arkansas’ Juan Marino on court No. 6.
Oosterbaan, ranked 91st nationally, provided his third clinch of the season at No. 3 with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 win over Santiago Munoz. The clinch was Oosterbaan’s first since his emphatic victory against No. 65 Chris Diaz of fourth-ranked Ohio State.
After losses on courts 4 and 5, the Bulldogs’ No. 34 Montgomery capped the day’s scoring with a 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (11-9) victory over No. 76 Jose Salazar.
Georgia returns to action on Sunday for its final regular-season match of the season at No. 32 Ole Miss. With a victory the Bulldogs will finish undefeated in regular-season SEC play for the first time since 2007 when Georgia finished 32-0 and won the national championship.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.