TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Following a win in doubles and four first-set singles victories, the No. 8 seed Georgia men’s tennis team staved off a furious Arkansas rally in a 4-2 win Thursday evening in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
It was junior Emil Reinberg who delivered the late-match heroics in a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) triumph against Arkansas’ Adam Sanjurjo to send the Bulldogs (13-9 overall) to a date with No. 1 seed Texas A&M Friday at 4 p.m. CT.
“We played a great doubles point and looked like we were in control in many ways at the start of singles,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “I can’t say enough about Arkansas. They really were a physical team. We were not able to maintain our momentum on a lot of courts, but I am so proud of the guys and the way they fought. It just took a lot of guts for us to really fight the way we did and be able to pull that out.”
Georgia came ready to play from the start. The Bulldogs looked strong at each doubles court, jumping out to sizable leads at all positions. Alex Diaz and Reinberg were the first to finish in a 6-4 win, before Walker Duncan and Wayne Montgomery took a 6-3 victory. Duncan won his match in his first action back since March 18. The Bulldog junior had been sitting out due to injury.
Up 1-0 after doubles, Georgia’s singles lineup featured Montgomery at the top position, followed by Jan Zielinski at No. 2, Reinberg at No. 3, Nathan Ponwith at No. 4, Robert Loeb at No. 5 and Diaz at No. 6.
The Bulldogs began singles much like they did in doubles with first-set wins at four of the six courts. Ponwith then put the Bulldogs up 2-0 and won his fifth match in the last six contests with a decisive 6-1, 6-2 win over Josh Howard from Arkansas.
Ponwith’s victory put the Bulldogs seemingly in control of the match, but the Razorbacks fought back to win the first set at one and second sets at two and six, before getting on the board with Alex Reco’s 6-4, 6-3 win against Loeb at the No. 5 spot.
Diaz stretched Georgia’s lead to 3-1 with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 triumph at the sixth court, but Montgomery suffered a loss in two tiebreakers, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9). That put the match in the hands of Zielinski and Reinberg, who were locked in tight third-set battles.
With Zielinski down 6-5, Reinberg delivered with a 7-5 win in his tiebreaker to put the final score at 4-2 in the Bulldogs’ favor.
Tennis Match Results
Arkansas vs Georgia
4/26/2018 at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
(Alabama Tennis Stadium)
#18 Georgia 4, #47 Arkansas 2
1. #21 Jose Salazar (AR) def. #33 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (11-9)
2. #39 Jan Zielinski (UGA) vs. Oscar Mesquida (AR) 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 5-6, unfinished
3. #64 Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. Adam Sanjurjo (AR) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5)
4. #93 Nathan Ponwith (UGA) def. Josh Howard-Tripp (AR) 6-1, 6-2
5. Alex Reco (AR) def. Robert Loeb (UGA) 6-4, 6-3
6. Alex Diaz (UGA) def. Pedro Alonso (AR) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
1. #33 Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (UGA) vs. #47 Oscar Mesquida/Adam Sanjurjo (AR) 5-4, unfinished
2. Emil Reinberg/Alex Diaz (UGA) def. Alex Reco/Josh Howard-Tripp (AR) 6-4
3. #52 Wayne Montgomery/Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Jose Alonso/Pedro Alonso (AR) 6-3
Arkansas 13-14; National ranking #47
Georgia 13-9; National ranking #18