Led by seniors Walker Duncan and Jan Zielinski, with a clincher from freshman Trent Bryde, the Georgia men’s tennis team beat No. 24-ranked LSU 5-2 on Saturday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Georgia, ranked No. 34, took the doubles point and then got singles victories from Duncan, Zielinski and Bryde, clinching the SEC victory when the score was 4-1. The Bulldogs improved to 6-5 overall and 2-1 in conference play, while the Tigers dropped to 12-4 (1-3).
“Our guys stayed the course,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “I was very happy with how (senior) Emil (Reinberg) turned his match around and Trent turned his match around … Our boys need a little bit of rest this week and we’re glad we don’t have to go to class, so they can rest up a little bit, gearing up for a very big match here on Friday.”
Playing in cool, breezy conditions at Henry Feild Stadium, the Tigers struck first in the doubles, with LSU’s Boris Kozlov and Nick Watson beating the freshman duo of Philip Henning and Bryde at No. 3 doubles, 6-2. A few minutes later, at No. 1, Georgia’s Zielinski and junior Robert Loeb got a break of serve at 4-3 and then Loeb served out the set, with Zielinski winning the final two points on winners at the net, for a 6-3 victory.
In the deciding doubles match, at No. 2, the teams of Duncan and senior Emil Reinberg for Georgia and Shane Monroe and Daniel Moreno of LSU were tied at 6-6 in the set and 6-6 in the subsequent tiebreaker, with both teams struggling to hold serve.
At 6-6 in the breaker, on Duncan’s serve, LSU couldn’t put the return in play and gave the Bulldog duo its third set point. This one Georgia converted, with Duncan putting the return in play and Monroe missing for a 7-6 (8-6) win to clinch the doubles point.
It was LSU that got off to the strong start in singles, at one point getting up a break in the first set of the first five matches and winning four first sets. Only Duncan at No. 6 was out in front early, and the veteran player from Atlanta never let up, winning 6-3, 6-1 to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
The only Georgia player besides Duncan to win a first set was Zielinski at No. 2, who delivered a stellar drop volley to break and draw even at 3-3 after getting down a break. He pulled out the first set, breaking again at 5-4, and the second set was also a struggle before he prevailed 6-4, 7-6 (6), giving the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.
At No. 4, Bryde dropped the opening set and took command of the match midway through the second, winning it and cruising in the third for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win that clinched the Georgia victory, 4-1. The remaining singles matches were played out and at No. 5, Joey Thomas beat Loeb, 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-0, while Reinberg rallied at No. 1 for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
With time off for spring break, the Bulldogs will have a few days to get rested and ready before hosting No. 9 Florida, the highest-ranked SEC team, on Friday at 5 p.m.
Tennis Match Results
LSU vs Georgia
March 9, 2019 at Athens, Ga.
(Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
#34 Georgia 5, #24 LSU 2
1. #20 Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. #112 Shane Monroe (LSU) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. #10 Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. Rafael Wagner (LSU) 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
3. Trent Bryde (UGA) def. Malik Bhatnagar (LSU) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
4. Boris Kozlov (LSU) def. #95 Philip Henning (UGA) 6-0, 7-6 (8-6)
5. Joey Thomas (LSU) def. Robert Loeb (UGA) 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-0
6. Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Nick Watson (LSU) 6-3, 6-1
1. #65 Robert Loeb/Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. #43 Joey Thomas/Rafael Wagner (LSU) 6-3
2. Walker Duncan/Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. Shane Monroe/Daniel Moreno (LSU) 7-6 (8-6)
3. Boris Kozlov/Nick Watson (LSU) def. Philip Henning/Trent Bryde (UGA) 6-2
LSU 12-4, 1-3; National ranking #24
Georgia 6-5, 2-1; National ranking #34
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (6,4,2,3,5,1)