The 8th-ranked UGA women’s tennis team will get SEC dual play season underway as they host the Kentucky Wildcats at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex for a 3:00 p.m. match today. The Georgia Ladies will also duel rackets with the 13th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET.
“Every time in conference play you are going to play a great team and this weekend it is Kentucky and Vanderbilt,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. “It is nice to be at home. They are great teams and it should be a lot of fun.”
Last time out, junior Ellen Perez and freshman Elena Christofi represented Georgia’s bright spots in a 4-3 losing affair to Georgia Tech. Perez, ranked No. 62 in ITA singles, grinded out a three-set win, while No. 15 Christofi won in two set tiebreakers. Perez will occupy the top singles position where she showcases a 5-1 duals record. Christofi, a native of Athens, Greece, will follow in the second slot, looking to stretch her record to a team-best 20-3, 8-0 in duals.
The Bulldogs are shuffling their doubles lineup slightly as Perez will pair with senior Caroline Brinson at No. 1 and Christofi will team up with junior Kennedy Shaffer at No. 2. In the fall, the duo of Christofi and Shaffer resulted in a 5-1 slate. The third tandem, freshman Marta Gonzalez and junior Mariana Gould, remains intact, as they are 4-1 together this dual season.
“Just trying something different,” Wallace explained. “It is still early in the year and it is the start of SEC season now. We are just trying to figure out our best play in doubles.”
Leading the Wildcats is senior Aldila Sutjiadi, a 2016 All-SEC First Team honoree, with a team-high 13 singles victories. However, sophomore Akvile Parazinskaite and junior Mami Adachi sport a combined 13-0 duals record while occupying the second and third spots. In doubles, Sutjiadi and Adachi form the nation’s fifth-ranked duo with a 12-3 record. Kentucky’s No. 3 doubles team, Emily Fanning and Justina Mikulskyte, are undefeated at 6-0.
All four of the Commodores’ (5-4) losses came from ranked opponents including three within the top 10. Astra Sharma, nationally ranked fifth, plays mostly the top spot for Vandy and is a returning All-SEC Second Team recipient. Senior Sydney Campbell, a 2016 All-SEC First Team honoree, checks in at No. 16 and plays in either of the first two slots. Vanderbilt’s top doubles team, Sharma and Emily Smith, are ranked 32nd and have a 5-0 record.
Georgia has won the last 11 meetings against Kentucky, meanwhile, the Bulldogs and Commodores’ matchup has exchanged winners each of the past six meetings over a three-season period.
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