The No. 1-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team beat No. 40 Arkansas, 4-0, for its fifth-straight shutout Friday evening at the Billingsley Tennis Center.
The last time the Bulldogs rattled off five shutout wins in a row against Southeastern Conference foes was in 2013 – Georgia’s last regular-season championship season. The victory against the Razorbacks (10-11, 3-7 SEC) kept Georgia’s season clean at 18-0 overall and 10-0 in the SEC.
The match’s first point was a tightly contested one, needing a tiebreaker on the last remaining doubles court to determine the result. Down 5-6, Junior Elena Christofi and sophomore Vivian Wolff, ranked No. 55 in ITA doubles, broke Arkansas’ serve to force the tiebreaker and then carried their momentum to a 7-6(3) win and a 1-0 Georgia lead.
“First of all, No. 3 doubles played great, they really got it done, but then it was just a battle on the No. 2 doubles court,” Georgia head coach Jeff Wallace said. ”They had their chances, but we hung around, kept fighting and did a good job getting the lead in the tiebreaker, and then took them down. It was a great match and really well played. As I’ve said all year, doubles is going to be close and anything can happen, but we found a way to get it done and I thought it was really high-level tennis.”
Both teams split courts one and three in doubles to bring all eyes to court two where Christofi and Wolff obtained Georgia’s 13th doubles point of the season. On court three, junior Marta Gonzalez and freshman Meg Kowalski defeated another freshman-junior duo, Laura Rijkers and Jackie Carr, 6-3. The Georgia twosome improved to 6-3 in SEC play including its second win in a row.
The doubles clinch by Christofi/Wolff marked their seventh of the season and upped their unblemished record to 11-0. The Bulldogs halted a three-match win streak of Arkansas’ Thea Rice and Martina Zerulo. On the final point, Christofi lobbed the ball to the deep corner and Wolff used an overhead finish on the Razorbacks’ return.
Five first sets in singles went Georgia’s way, paving way to three straight-set wins that sealed the match. Kowalski was first off the court, Wolff followed, and then freshman Lourdes Carle earned her first conference clinch and fourth of the season.
“Meg [Kowalski] and Vivian [Wolff] both played great tennis for us and got quick points on the board,” Wallace said. “All the tennis out there was well played. [Elena] Christofi was about to close hers out in the second-set tiebreaker. Katarina [Jokic] turned it around after dropping her first set, reducing her errors and playing good tennis.”
Kowalski, ranked No. 101 in ITA singles, extended her unbeaten record to 18-0 with her seventh conference win by dispatching Rice in a battle of freshman, 6-1, 6-0, on court six.
The reigning SEC Player of the Week, Wolff, defeated Rijkers, 6-0, 6-3, on court four to up her win streak to a dozen and increase her team-best record to 24-3. The Frankfurt, Germany native is ranked No. 46 and contains a 9-0 conference record.
Carle, of Daireaux, Argentina, ended the contest with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over junior Lauren Alter on court three. The Bulldog freshman, ranked No. 89 in singles, moved to 16-5 overall with her seventh-straight win.
“We have one more road match, before we can return home to be in line with hopefully a championship,” Wallace finished with. “So we need to take care of business and realize that everybody is good and get over there [Missouri] and be ready for another battle.”
Georgia concludes its regular season road schedule Sunday with a match against the Missouri Tigers at 1 p.m. ET.