Jan. 20, 2014
ATLANTA --- The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team closed out an impressive run at the MLK Invitational on Monday – an outing that was highlighted by sweeping five singles matches vs. in-state rival Georgia Tech at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta.
The three-day indoor tournament pitted Georgia against players from Memphis on Saturday, Ole Miss on Sunday, and the Yellow Jackets today. No team scores were recorded, but junior Nathan Pasha came away with the individual singles title following an undefeated weekend at 3-0. Memphis’ doubles team of Joe Salisbury and David O’Hare claimed the doubles crown.
In all, the Bulldogs went a combined 20-7 in singles and doubles.
“Our guys did a great job bouncing back today from what I thought was a bit of a disappointing doubles,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “You’ve got to hand it to Tech there – we squandered a 4-0 lead at No. 2 and were up a break twice at No. 1. We need to do a better job finishing. We learned our lesson and came out with fire. I was pleased with how we finished. Hopefully this young team continues improving and maturing, and learning these lessons along the way so we can become a better team as we move along.”
After coming into the final day of competition with a 14-5 overall mark, the Bulldogs suffered losses on two of the three doubles courts. Georgia’s team of Austin Smith and Nick Wood posted a commanding 6-2 lead over Anish Sharma and Cole Fiegel, but elsewhere the team of No. 12 Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters lost 6-3 to Eduardo Segura and Carlos Benito, while Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux lost 6-5 in a tiebreaker to Nathan Rakitt and Casey Kay.
But the Bulldogs responded in singles to win each of the five matches vs. the Yellow Jackets, with 48th-ranked Wagland defeating Segura in straight sets, 6-3, 6-5, and No. 47 Brasseaux doing the same vs. Kay, 6-2, 6-4. The other three courts went three sets and Georgia came through, with 12th-ranked Smith posting a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Rakitt, No. 21 Pasha claiming a 6-3, 5-6, 6-2 decision over Benito, and No. 102 Wood beating Fiegel by a score of 6-4, 5-6, 6-4.
The Bulldogs will open the 2014 home slate next weekend, hosting a leg of the ITA Kickoff Jan. 25-26 at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Facility. Columbia, Washington, and Stanford will make the trip to Athens with a berth in the National Team Indoor Championships on the line. Live stats and the Georgia Tennis Live Blog will be available on Georgiadogs.com.
Segura/Benito (GT) def. Pieters/Wagland (UGA), 6-3
Rakitt/Kay (GT) def.Pasha/Brasseaux (UGA), 6-5
Smith/Wood (UGA) def. Sharma/Fiegel (GT), 6-2
Ben Wagland (UGA) def. Eduardo Segura (GT), 6-3, 6-5
Austin Smith (UGA) def. Nathan Rakitt (GT), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Carlos Benito (GT), 6-3, 5-6, 6-2
Nick Wood (UGA) def. Cole Fiegel (GT), 6-4, 5-6, 6-4