After defeating TCU’s Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder in the semifinals, Georgia’s Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski look to bring home a title for the Bulldogs in the finals of the NCAA Doubles Championships today at 1:00 p.m.
The Bulldog duo, the tournament’s top seed, defeated Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder of TCU, 6-3, 7-6(4) on Sunday. Loeb and Zielinski will play 15th-ranked Andrew Harris and Spencer Papa of Oklahoma in the championship match Monday in front of the home crowd.
“We are super excited [to be playing at home],” Loeb said following the win. “It was a tough end to the season for the team, but I think we bounced back really well. Our level may have dropped a little bit [in the second set], but in the tiebreaker, we started playing a lot better again and started making more returns.”
Georgia will be represented in the finals of the NCAA Doubles Championship for the sixth time in history, while Loeb and Zielinski are the fifth different pair to advance to the finals. Most recently, John Isner and Antonio Ruiz won the championship in 2005, and they too were a combination of a freshman and a sophomore.
TCU got off to a hot start, winning the first three points in the opening game of the match with Georgia serving. Zielinski and Loeb won four straight points to hold serve and their streak of winning points on which they were serving eventually got up to 18. They took the first set, 6-3, holding serve in each service game.
There were no breaks in the second set for either team, and they went to the tiebreaker knotted at 6-all. Georgia got a mini-break on the first point, but gave the advantage right back on the following point. On match point, Loeb served and TCU was unable to keep the return in play.
Zielinski, who now has 38 doubles wins on the year, can tie Isner (2006-07 season) for third most in a single season in school history. Loeb is not far behind with 34, and is tied with two others for 12th.