Feb. 1, 2014
LOS ANGELES --- The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team suffered a 4-0 loss to No. 4 Southern California in the Bulldogs’ first match of the inaugural SEC/Pac-12 Showdown on Saturday at the Trojans’ Marks Tennis Stadium.
Georgia (2-1) came close to capturing the doubles point, but host USC (3-0) went on to claim the early lead and never surrendered control.
“USC played a great match against us, and unfortunately we didn’t play well enough to win today,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “That’s the bottom line. They’re a great team. Our guys fought hard, and did a great job at No. 3 doubles. We led with a break at No. 2 and couldn’t finish them off, and that was the difference in the doubles point. In singles we were competitive at No. 1, and I was most impressed with their No. 2 singles player. He played a great match, and Nathan [Pasha] fought well in the first set but didn’t play well in the second. When they took a 3-0 lead, that changed the flow of the match. We can play better than we did today. All the credit to USC because they certainly played more assertive in singles and really took it to us. Hopefully we show more mettle in the future than we did today. It doesn’t get any easier. The guys will be ready for a good battle (tomorrow vs. UCLA).”
After the Trojans’ team of Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento defeated Georgia’s 12th-ranked Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland by a 6-2 score at No. 1 doubles, the Bulldogs responded with a 6-5(0) decision at No. 3 for Eric Diaz and Austin Smith over Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson. USC eventually won the deciding match on court No. 2, with Connor Farren and Roberto Quiroz besting Garrett Brasseaux and Nathan Pasha, 6-4, to take the 1-0 lead in the team match into singles play.
The Trojans went on to win five of six first sets in singles, before taking a 2-0 lead with a 6-5(0), 6-1 win for No. 32 Hanfmann over No. 21 Pasha at No. 2. It moved to a 3-0 lead as 67th-ranked Johnny Wang posted a 6-3, 6-1 win over Pieters at No. 5, and the clinch came at No. 1 as No. 10 Sarmiento beat No. 12 Austin Smith, 6-4, 6-4.
The Bulldogs were in good shape in two of the suspended matches, as Brasseaux was one game away from giving Georgia its first point at No. 4, and Wagland was up a break looking to force a third set at No. 3.
Georgia is back in action in the tournament tomorrow, taking on second-ranked UCLA (4-0) at 1 p.m. ET. The defending national runner-up Bruins defeated Florida today. The Pac-12 Network will televise the Sunday matches, including a video stream with a subscription to a participating cable provider, with Paul Sunderland and Paul Goldstein on the call. The ITA’s experimental scoring format is in place for the duration of the weekend, with sets in all matches played to six games, tiebreakers at five-all, and no-ad scoring.
#4 Southern California 4, #3 Georgia 0
1. #10 Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. #12 Austin Smith (UGA) 6-4, 6-4
2. #32 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. #21 Nathan Pasha (UGA) 6-5 (7-0), 6-1
3. #113 Roberto Quiroz (USC) vs. #48 Ben Wagland (UGA) 6-4, 1-3, unfinished
4. Connor Farren (USC) vs. Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) 4-6, 2-5, unfinished
5. #67 Jonny Wang (USC) def. Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-3, 6-1
6. Eric Johnson (USC) vs. #102 Nick Wood (UGA) 6-5 (7-4), 5-2, unfinished
1. Yannick Hanfmann/Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. #12 Ben Wagland/Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-2
2. Roberto Quiroz/Connor Farren (USC) def. Garrett Brasseaux/Nathan Pasha (UGA) 6-4
3. Eric Diaz/Austin Smith (UGA) def. Max de Vroome/Eric Johnson (USC) 6-5 (7-0)
Georgia 2-1; National ranking #3
Southern California 3-0; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,5,1)