The 14th-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team won for the ninth time in its last 10 matches and improved to 8-0 in Southeastern Conference action with a 4-0 victory against No. 17 Mississippi State on Thursday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
Georgia is now 12-6 overall this season and has won 22 consecutive regular season contests against SEC foes. Mississippi State, which had a 10-match win streak entering last Sunday’s match against Ole Miss, falls to 14-5 overall, 5-2 in SEC play.
“We knew we were going to have to battle a little wind and were going to face a very tough Mississippi State team today,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “I give a lot of credit to our guys for how they responded to play extremely well against a team that had won 10 of its last 11 matches coming into today. We showed a lot of resiliency in doubles and then came back and really showed up to play in singles. We are happy to get out of here with a win and will have to be ready to play a good Auburn team on Saturday.”
A pair of tiebreakers at the first and third positions would decide an action packed doubles point between the two teams.
Mississippi State picked up the first doubles win of the day as the tandem of Mate Cutura and Vaughn Hunter defeated the Georgia duo of Nathan Ponwith and Emil Reinberg, 6-3, at court No. 2. Meanwhile, Georgia’s No. 1 team of Jan Zielinski and Robert Loeb found itself down 4-2 with Wayne Montgomery and Walker Duncan locked in a tight battle at No. 3.
Loeb and Zielinski broke back and eventually evened up their match at 5-5 before taking the contest into a tiebreaker. The duo jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back as they downed MSU’s 31st-ranked Niclas Braun and Trevor Foshey, 7-6 (3).
The doubles point came down to Montgomery and Duncan, who looked in control early at No. 3. Their lead soon disappeared, but the tandem rebounded in the tiebreaker and downed Nuno Borges and Giovanni Ovadani, 7-6 (5).
Much like it did in its last match against Alabama this past Saturday, Georgia looked impressive from the outset in singles, taking four first-set wins.
Duncan was the first to strike for the Bulldogs as he improved to 7-1 in SEC play with a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 5 over MSU’s Oradini. Loeb quickly followed at No.6, putting Georgia up 3-0 with a 6-3, 6-0 triumph against Foshey.
Montgomery delivered the clincher and capped off his team’s strong showing with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Cutura at the No. 2 singles spot.
Georgia now travels to face Auburn at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT on Saturday.
No. 14 Georgia 4, No. 17 Mississippi State 0
March 30, 2017 – Starkville, Miss. – A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre
1. No. 8 Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. No. 31 Niclas Braun/Trevor Foshey (MSU) 7-6(3)
2. Mate Cutura/Vaughn Hunter (MSU) def. No. 48 Nathan Ponwith/Emil Reinberg (UGA) 6-3
3. Walker Duncan/Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. Nuno Borges/Giovanni Oradini (MSU) 7-6(5)
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
1. Nathan Ponwith (UGA) vs. No. 8 Nuno Borges (MSU) 6-4, 0-6, 0-1, suspended
2. No. 32 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. Mate Cutura (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
3. No. 65 Emil Reinberg (UGA) vs. No. 110 Strahinja Rakic (MSU)4-6, 6-3, suspended
4. Jan Zielinski (UGA) vs. Niclas Braun (MSU) 4-6, 6-2, suspended
5. Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Giovanni Oradini (MSU) 6-2, 6-2
6. Robert Loeb (UGA) def. Trevor Foshey (MSU) 6-3, 6-0
Order of finish: 5, 6, 2