Despite taking the doubles point to start the day, the 11th-ranked University of Georgia men’s tennis team fell, 4-1, to the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers Thursday afternoon in the NCAA Quarterfinals at the USTA National Campus.
“It is a tough loss,” Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz said. “All the credit to Tennessee. I think we felt good after doubles. [Tennessee] just made more balls and just played better in singles. It’s a disappointing loss, but I’m proud of our guys for the tenacity and for what they’ve done this year with so many challenges. This one in particular stings a little bit more, because I feel we put ourselves in a position to win, and we just didn’t get the job done. All the credit to Tennessee, because they did.”
The Bulldogs came out strong in doubles action. While Georgia’s top-ranked doubles partners Trent Bryde and Tyler Zink dropped a 6-3 decision to No.4 Vols Adam Walton and Pat Harper at No. 1, Georgia claimed the bottom two courts to take the doubles point. First, the Bulldogs’ 54th-ranked, No. 2 doubles team of Blake Croyder and Billy Rowe claimed a 6-3 win over Tennessee’s Johannus Monday and Martim Prata. A 6-2 Georgia victory by Philip Henning and Eric Grevelius over No. 60 Vols team of Mark Wallner and Giles Hussey sent the Bulldogs into singles play with a 1-0 lead.
Georgia and Tennessee split first sets. Tennessee claimed the first sets at the top two singles courts, with No. 2 coming down to a tiebreaker. While both Bryde at No. 1 and Zink at No. 2 fought hard to come back in their respective second sets, Tennessee was relentless. At No. 1, 10th-ranked Walton (UT) defeated No. 15 Bulldog Bryde in straight sets (6-4, 6-4). One court over, Tennessee’s Monday, ranked No. 7 in ITA Singles Rankings, ousted No. 27 Zink, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
The Volunteers sealed their 4-1 NCAA Quarterfinals victory at the No. 6 and No. 4 courts. Harper (UT), ranked No. 115 in ITA Singles Rankings, used a second-set comeback at No. 6 to beat Georgia’s Grevelius, 6-3, 7-5. Finally, Tennessee’s Wiedenmann grabbed the final two sets of his three-set match against Georgia’s Croyder to win by a score of 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Despite there being unfinished matches at courts three and five, the Volunteers’ four singles wins were enough to seal the 4-1 win and berth to the 2021 NCAA Semifinals.
The Bulldogs cap the season 17-7 and ranked No. 11 in the nation.
NCAA QUARTERFINALS RESULTS: #3 Tennessee 4, #11 Georgia 1
1. #4 Adam Walton / Pat Harper (UT) def. #7 Trent Bryde / Tyler Zink (UGA) 6-3
2.#54 Blake Croyder / Billy Rowe (UGA) def. Johannus Monday / Martim Prata (UT) 6-3
3.Philip Henning / Erik Grevelius (UGA) def. #60 Mark Wallner / Giles Hussey (UT) 6-2
1. #10 Adam Walton (UT) def. #15 Trent Bryde (GA) 6-4, 6-4
2. #7 Johannus Monday (UT) def. #27 Tyler Zink (GA) 7-6 (7-3), 6-4
3. #19 Philip Henning (UGA) vs. #41 Martim Prata (UT) 6-3, 6-6 (3-3) unfinished
4. Luca Wiedenmann (UT) def. Blake Croyder (GA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. Billy Rowe (UGA) vs. #92 Giles Hussey (UT) 6-2, 2-6, 2-0 unfinished
6. #115 Pat Harper (UT) def. Erik Grevelius (GA) 6-3, 7-5
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,2,6,4)
Notes: Georgia 17-7; National ranking #11 | Tennessee Volunteers 28-3; National ranking #3