Men’s Tennis: Georgia vs. Mercer in Athens Today

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Men’s Tennis: Georgia vs. Mercer in Athens Today

Walker Duncan – NCAA Final Four – Georgia vs. UNC – May 22, 2017
Walker Duncan – NCAA Final Four – Georgia vs. UNC – May 22, 2017
ATHENS, Ga. – The 11th-ranked Georgia Bulldog men’s tennis team returns to the Dan Magill Complex on Tuesday afternoon, welcoming Mercer to Athens for a 2:30 p.m. ET contest.
After playing nearly every year for the first 10 seasons of Georgia tennis program history dating back to 1955, Tuesday marks the first meeting between Georgia and Mercer in 50 years. The last contest took place in 1967, and Georgia took the 9-0 victory, which was the eighth of 10 previous matches that the Bulldogs took 9-0.

The Mercer match follows Georgia’s trip to the ITA National Team Indoors, where the Bulldogs faced their first three ranked opponents of the year, including a 4-1 victory against then-No. 14 Columbia. The last outdoor action for the Bulldogs came in an undefeated weekend at the USTA National Campus against Florida Atlantic University and Georgia Tech in Lake Nona, Florida in January.
The match will be available for live streaming/video: Admission to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex is free.

In Seattle, Washington for the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, the Bulldogs topped then-No. 14 Columbia (now No. 8), 4-1, with wins at the top two doubles courts and strong performances at the bottom of the singles lineup. Georgia moved on to the quarterfinals, where it dropped its first match of the season to No. 5 Stanford. Down 3-1 with the remaining matches in the third set, the Bulldogs’ comeback effort fell short in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinal squad. In similar fashion against the eighth-ranked Trojans, Georgia trailed 3-1 with the final matches in the deciding set, before Southern California took the match 4-2.

Georgia punched its ticket to the 43rd ITA National Indoor Tournament with its two wins over Iowa and Memphis in the ITA Kick-off Weekend in January. Similar to their fourth-ranked national ranking, the Bulldogs were determined as the fourth seed based on a National Rankings Committee. Georgia was one of three SEC teams to represent the conference, the second-most of any league in the nation. 



After sweeping the singles field on the fifth court at the ITA National Indoors, 19th-ranked Walker Duncan received All-Tournament honors. With a team-leading four victories across singles and doubles, the junior from Atlanta, Georgia remains undefeated in singles dual play. Alongside Jan Zielinski, who had two singles wins in the tournament, Duncan has the second-most singles wins for Georgia with 19 on the year, including a team-best seven against ranked opponents. On Saturday, one of the ranked victories came against Stanford’s No. 117 David Wilczynski, 6-3, 6-3 to knot Georgia’s match at one. 

To open the ITA National Championships against Columbia, Duncan teamed up with Wayne Montgomery to top their highest-ranked opponent yet – the 28th-ranked pair of William Matheson and Jack Lin. The pair has won seven of its last eight completed matches, with the only loss coming against the 32nd-ranked duo of Axel Geller and Tom Fawcett against Stanford on Saturday. 



In five wins for Georgia, the 28th-ranked junior Jan Zielinski has clinched the match for the Bulldogs on three separate occasions, twice on the fourth court and once on the fifth. The Warsaw, Poland native remains undefeated in singles dual play this season, with a 19-6 record overall and six wins over ranked opponents. The junior has yet to complete only one match this season – against Laurens Verboven of Southern California – which was tied at four in the third set when the match ended.



Seven different Bulldogs have posted wins in singles this year, with Paul Oosterbaan and Robert Loeb each taking turns on the sixth court. Behind the top-ranked Wake Forest Deacons with six, Georgia is one of only two teams in the ITA/Oracle Tennis Rankings to total five ranked singles players. Texas A&M also boasts five ranked players in the singles lineup.


Jan Zielinski – NCAA tournament Round of 16 Men's Doubles – May 26, 2017
Jan Zielinski – NCAA tournament Round of 16 Men’s Doubles – May 26, 2017


11th-ranked senior Wayne Montgomery was named Co-SEC Player of the Week alongside Tennessee’s senior Luis Valero. The accolade marks Montgomery’s fifth weekly award from the SEC in his career, including two Player of the Week honors and three SEC Freshman of the Week. He was also named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2015, the first for the Georgia men’s tennis program since John Isner. Since then, sophomore Nathan Ponwith won SEC Freshman of the Week in 2016 – he was the first SEC player in history to win the Freshman of the Week award five times.

Montgomery went 3-0 in singles and doubles to guide Georgia to its 2-0 week against Georgia Tech and Florida Atlantic. In that time span, the senior allowed only one opponent to win more than one set against him, and it came against the 39th-ranked Georgia Tech sophomore Carlos Divar in a 6-1, 6-2 outing. In 2018 action, Montgomery has taken all seven of his singles wins in straight sets. Montgomery shares the doubles court with junior Walker Duncan, and the pair leads the Bulldogs in dual play with four wins. The duo won seven straight completed matches, capped with a topping of the 28th-ranked Columbia duo, William Matheson and Jack Lin at the ITA National Indoors. 



Georgia posted wins against every Georgia Tech player faced in 2018 action at both the MLK/Georgia Tech Invitational and USTA College MatchDay. In front of a nationally televised audience on the Tennis Channel on Friday, the Bulldogs swept Tech at the USTA National Campus. Georgia has now won 31 of the last 32 meetings against the Yellow Jackets, including a 64-9 lead in the all-time series. The first meeting between the two teams this season, Georgia participated in the MLK/Georgia Tech Invitational from Jan. 13-15, winning nine contests over the Yellow Jackets, which did not count as a dual match.



Walker Duncan led the Bulldogs in the fall with 15 singles wins, followed by Wayne Montgomery and Jan Zielinski, who had 14 and 12, respectively. Duncan posted a team-best seven wins over ranked opponents, while Zielinski had six. At the ITA Southeast Regional, the four semifinal spots featured three Bulldogs for the second year in a row: Duncan, Montgomery, and Zielinski. Duncan was the ultimate victor in the final with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Montgomery.



Georgia returns each letter winner from a team that went 22-8 en route to a SEC regular season and tournament championship as well as a berth in the NCAA semifinals for the second-straight season. In 2018, the Bulldogs seek their sixth-straight SEC title. Among the returners are five All-SEC players, including 2017 SEC Freshman of the Year Nathan Ponwith, three-time All-SEC member Wayne Montgomery and 2017 ITA All-Americans Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski. Redshirt senior Paul Oosterbaan also returns to the Georgia roster after missing most of last season due to injury.




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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.