A 3-1 record in singles and 2-0 mark in doubles gave the Georgia men’s tennis team a strong start to the 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame ITA Grass Court Invitational on Friday.
Perhaps Georgia’s most impressive win of the day came from junior Jan Zielinski. One of the country’s top doubles players with teammate Robert Loeb, it was his showing in singles Friday that stuck out for the Bulldogs. The Warsaw, Poland native recorded a win over a ranked opponent with a 6-4, 1-6, 11-9 victory against 31st-ranked Aron Hiltzik from Illinois.
“It was a great first day on the grass,” associate head coach Jamie Hunt said. “Jan had a very good ranked win over a tough player from Illinois and Alex and Andy did a nice job in their singles matches as well. In doubles, Jan and Robert continued playing very well. Alex and Andy recovered from a slow start to play a really good doubles match. The boys had a lot of fun, learned a lot and are ready to battle again tomorrow.”
In addition to Zielinski’s win, Georgia players Alex Phillips and Andy Martinez each won in straight sets. Phillips powered past Vuk Budic from Illinois, 6-3, 7-5, while Martinez defeated Austen Huang from Columbia, 6-3, 6-4.
On the doubles side, Phillips and Martinez teamed up to take down Alex McNeela and Eduardo Roldan from TCU, 8-5, while the nation’s No. 2-ranked duo of Loeb and Zielinski ousted Aron Hiltzik and Aleks Kovacevis of Illinois, 8-4.
All four Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday with play scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET.
Day 1 – ITHF/ITA Grass Court Invitational
Friday, Sept. 15 – Newport, Rhode Island
Singles – First Round
Gardnar Mulloy Flight
Alex Phillips (Georgia) def. Vuk Budic (Illinois), 6-3, 7-5
Andy Martinez (Georgia) def. Austen Huang (Columbia), 6-3, 6-4
Andy Roddick Flight
#102 Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. #31 Aron Hiltzik (Illinois), 6-4, 1-6, 11-9
#12 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. Robert Loeb (Georgia), 6-1, 6-1
Doubles – First Round
#2 Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (Georgia) def. Aron Hiltzik/Aleks Kovacevis (Illinois), 8-4
Andy Martinez/Alex Phillips (Georgia) def. Alex McNeel/Eduardo Roldan (TCU), 8-5