Don’t let the 4-0 final score fool you. The Georgia men’s tennis team had to work and grind its way past Texas Tech on Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
After claiming a tight doubles point, the No. 11-seeded Bulldogs got close singles wins from Trent Bryde, Tyler Zink and Blake Croyder to close out the hard-fought victory and move on to the round of 16. Georgia (16-6) will face sixth-seeded North Carolina on May 17, at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla., outside Orlando.
“It really took tremendous tenacity and composure and poise and fight from our guys, and I’m so proud of them,” Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz said. “That’s what we’ve been talking about this spring — it’s not about winning easy, it’s about being able to stand up to the challenge of a great team like Texas Tech.”
No player demonstrated that fight and resolve Sunday better than Bryde, who struggled to hold serve for most of his first set against the Tech’s tall left-hander, Parker Wynn. Down 5-3, Bryde began to find his groove and rallied to force a tiebreaker, in which he got out in front early and then at 6-1 closed out the set with a forehand volley winner.
In the second set, Bryde got a break of serve at 1all and carried the momentum the rest of the way, closing out the 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 win to put Georgia ahead 2-0.
“Trent showed a lot of fight there because, honestly, he was lacking in confidence in the early stages of that match,” Diaz said. “He did not play well (against ETSU in the first round), and I challenged him to really show some guts and fight regardless of the score.”
At No. 2 singles, Zink and Ilgiz Valiev went back and forth in the first set and were tied 5-5 when Zink fought off a couple of break points to hold serve and go ahead 6-5. The next game went to 40-all and Valiev missed long on the deciding point to give the set to Zink. In the second set, Zink got up a break early and carried it through for a 7-5, 6-3 win.
“Going into the match, I knew I had a tough opponent — I knew he was going to make it hard for me,” Zink said. “My groundstrokes were very, very good today. I was struggling a little bit with the serve and return, but I definitely got past that and was able to push through.”
Both Zink and Croyder had match points at the same time. Playing Tech’s Reed Collier at the No. 4 spot, Croyder dropped the first set 6-1, won the second 6-1, and in the two went into a tiebreaker in the third set. In the tiebreaker, Croyder won the first four points and closed out a 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) win to send the Bulldogs to the round of 16.
For more information on the Bulldogs, visit Georgiadogs.com. You can also get updates on the team via Twitter (@UGATennis) and Instagram (@ugatennis).
#11 Georgia 4, #25 Texas Tech 0
1. #15 Trent Bryde (GA) def. Parker Wynn (TTU) 7-6 (2), 6-2
2. #27 Tyler Zink (GA) def. Ilgiz Valiev (TTU) 7-5, 6-3
3. #19 Philip Henning (GA) vs. Franco Ribero (TTU) 6-2, 3-6, 4-2, unfinished
4. Blake Croyder (GA) def. Reed Collier (TTU) 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3)
5. Billy Rowe (GA) vs. Dimitrios Azoidis (TTU) 4-6, 6-5, 0-1, unfinished
6. Erik Grevelius (GA) vs. Isaac Arevalo (TTU) 6-4, 5-6, unfinished
1. #7 Trent Bryde/Tyler Zink (GA) def. #45 Parker Wynn/Franco Ribero (TTU) 6-3
2. Blake Croyder/Billy Rowe (GA) vs. Isaac Arevalo/Reed Collier (TTU) 6-6 (2), unfinished
3. Philip Henning/Erik Grevelius (GA) def. Ilgiz Valiev/Dimitrios Azoidis (TTU) 7-6 (3)
Texas Tech 13-8; National ranking #25 Georgia 16-6; National ranking #11
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (1,2,4)
Texas Tech Head Coach Danny Whitehead
On his team’s season…
“If you go back, starting in January, we had a rocky start between our guys getting some COVID then we had some opponents struggle with it. We missed the ITA Kickoff and had a bunch of cancelations, really the first half of the season. There were a couple of moments where I was trying to act collected in front of the team, but there are a couple of moments earlier this year, I didn’t know which way the season was going to go. To see the guys, I referenced it yesterday, just keep going and what we ended up doing, particularly in the second half of the season was inspiring to me as a coach from what I saw my guys do this season. Very proud of the Red Raiders’ tennis season this year.”
Texas Tech Senior Parker Wynn
On his match today…
“The first set, I had almost too many chances. Trent [Bryde] is a great player. He’s a guy who is never going to go away. He’s never going to give in on a service game and we saw that in the 6-5 game. I had chances to close out a couple of points, didn’t and he took advantage in the tiebreaker. This whole season has just been a matter of being physically strong in the second set for me. Ever since I came back from COVID, I feel like I have a really good set and a half in me of really good tennis and it just seems to taper off in the second set. Today I just felt like he [Bryde] was just physically stronger than me on big points and that showed in the second set. Kudos to them. Georgia is a really good team and it was going to require a great effort on our part. We fought but we just came up short in a couple of sets.”
Georgia Head Coach Manuel Diaz
On today’s match …
“It really took tremendous tenacity and composure and poise and fight from our guys, and I’m so proud of them. That’s what we’ve been talking about this spring — it’s not about winning easy, it’s about being able to stand up to the challenge of a great team like Texas Tech.”
On Trent Bryde …
“Trent showed a lot of fight there because, honestly, he was lacking in confidence in the early stages of that match. He did not play well (against ETSU in the first round), and I challenged him to really show some guts and fight regardless of the score.”
Georgia Sophomore Tyler Zink
On his performance today …
“Going into the match, I knew I had a tough opponent — I knew he was going to make it hard for me. My groundstrokes were very, very good today. I was struggling a little bit with the serve and return, but I definitely got past that and was able to push through.”