March 2, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. --- The No. 6 Georgia men’s tennis team opened its SEC schedule with a 6-1 win over 22nd-ranked South Carolina Friday afternoon at the brand new Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia.
The Bulldogs improved to 10-1 with the decisive victory, dropping their divisional rival to 10-2 and moving to 33-6 in the all-time series with the Gamecocks.
Georgia swept the doubles point for the fourth time this season and second in a row to go up 1-0 on the road. The first win came on court No. 1 as the team of Ignacio Taboada and Hernus Pieters defeated Nick Jones and Kyle Koch, 8-3. That was followed shortly after by another 8-3 win for the team of Wil Spencer and KU Singh at No. 3, as they defeated Andrew Adams and Thiago Pinheiro to clinch the point.
That sent the Bulldogs into singles play with the lead, and Pasha wasted no time giving Georgia its second point as the freshman won 12 straight games to down Eguez 6-0, 6-0 on court six for his 20th win of the season. The Atlanta native is now 9-0 in dual match play.
The Bulldogs were in good shape elsewhere, winners of three of the remaining five first sets.
Pasha was followed by Taboada’s win at No. 4 singles, as the senior defeated Koch by a score of 6-3, 6-4 to give Georgia the 3-0 lead and in need of just one more for the clinch. It would come soon after from Doumbia on court No. 2, as the senior recorded a 6-3, 6-1 win over Machado to seal it for the Bulldogs for his team-leading 25th win of the season.
On court three, Singh bounced back from a 6-4 first-set loss to defeat Cox 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and give Georgia the 5-0 lead with just Spencer and Pieters still on court. The win brought Singh to a perfect 10-0 in dual match play since joining the team in January.
South Carolina grabbed its first point of the day as Pinheiro defeated Pieters 6-4, 6-4 at the five spot to make it 5-1, but Spencer added to the Georgia tally as he finished out his match 7-5, 7-5 over Adams at No. 1 to round it out at 6-1. Spencer is now just five wins shy of 100 for his career.
“We played a good match,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “South Carolina has a group of fighters and they played us hard. I am proud of our guys, we played well in doubles and kept it going in singles.”
“It was good to see Wil finish out our match with a win. He’s getting back to top form. He had a strong lead there in the second set and let it slip away with a couple of breaks, but he really showed a lot of character and found a way to win. I am proud of him for that. Hernus lost a tough one today. His opponent was playing extremely well and he’ll bounce back. Nathan Pasha continues to play so well, as did Ignacio and Sadio, and KU had an opponent just play a red-hot first set, but didn’t let it bother him, which is encouraging.”
Georgia is back in action this Sunday as the squad travels to meet its third top-10 opponent of the season in 10th-ranked Florida at 1 p.m. in Gainesville.
“We’ve got a tough match coming up against Florida, so we’ll have a day of rest and practice tomorrow and get back in action,” Diaz said. “Hopefully we play a peak match, because that’s what it’s going to take.”
#6 Georgia 6, #22 South Carolina 1
1. #3 Wil Spencer (UGA) def. Andrew Adams (SC) 7-5, 7-5
2. #11 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 6-3, 6-1
3. #35 KU Singh (UGA) def. Chip Cox (SC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
4. #43 Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Kyle Koch (SC) 6-3, 6-4
5. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. #47 Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-4, 6-4
6. Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Carl Eguez (SC) 6-0, 6-0
1. Ignacio Taboada/Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Nick Jones/Kyle Koch (SC) 8-3
2. Sadio Doumbia/Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Chip Cox/Ivan Machado (SC) 8-5
3. Wil Spencer/KU Singh (UGA) def. Andrew Adams/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 8-3
Georgia 10-1; National ranking #6
South Carolina 10-2; National ranking #22
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (6,4,2,3,5,1)