Bulldogs Go 6-1 Over Vandy In SEC Road Opener
March 11, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- Freshman Hernus Pieters provided his team-best fourth clincher of the season and the ninth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team defeated No. 23 Vanderbilt by a 6-1 score on a chilly Friday evening at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville.
Georgia won its sixth straight match to improve to 11-3 and is out to a 3-0 start in SEC play. Vanderbilt falls to 9-5 (0-3).
“This was a very well-fought match and I’m proud of our guys,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “They played a good match from top to bottom in both singles and doubles. Javi [Garrapiz] did a great job pulling that one out in a third-set tiebreaker to close the match. Vanderbilt played us tough, but overall our team played extremely well. We’ve got a tough task ahead of us Sunday at Kentucky and we have to hope our guys bounce back and get some rest. It’s going to be a shoot-out in Lexington.”
Georgia won its sixth straight doubles point with wins at Nos. 2 and 3 to get the day started. First off was the 79th-ranked team of Drake Bernstein and Wil Spencer, who raced out to a 6-1 lead at No. 3 before finishing an 8-5 win over Vanderbilt’s Bryant Salcedo and Blake Bazarnik. Bernstein and Spencer are 12-1 in dual matches and have won five in a row. The Bulldogs pulled out the doubles point with a win at line No. 2, as 36th-ranked Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada defeated Charlie Jones and Alex Zotov, 8-3. That duo moves to 9-2 in dual match play and has now won six straight, helping Georgia to the early 1-0 lead on the road.
At No. 1 doubles, the teams finished out the match as No. 49 Adam Baker and Ryan Lipman upset sixth-ranked Garrapiz and Pieters, 8-6. The Bulldog team got down an early break but clawed back to within 6-5 before the Commodores closed it out.
Georgia picked up early breaks on three courts and never looked back in singles, winning the first set on five of the six courts. Bernstein went first for Georgia at No. 4, winning his fifth straight as he defeated Salcedo by a score of 6-1, 6-4 to improve to 11-2 in dual matches and give the Bulldogs the 2-0 lead. Taboada, at No. 6, was next as he earned a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Zotov and followed that with a second-set win in a tiebreaker to push Georgia in front 3-0. The win was Taboada’s 20th of the season and made him 7-2 in duals. Pieters then clinched the win at No. 5 as he bested Bazarnik, 6-3, 6-4, to jump to 9-2 in dual matches and claim his sixth straight win.
Georgia then suffered its lone setback of the evening at No. 1, where 15th-ranked Spencer made his reappearance. He fell in three sets to No. 36 Lipman, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 as the scoreboard read 4-1 and Spencer saw his five-match hot streak come to an end as he falls to 8-4 this spring. No. 37 Doumbia then increased the lead to 5-1 as he followed a tiebreak victory in the first set with a 6-1 win in the second to defeat Jones, 7-6, 6-1 at No. 3. Doumbia is now 10-1 in dual matches.
Last on court was Garrapiz at No. 2, who won the first set, 6-1, over Baker but dropped a tough second-set breaker, 7-6(8). The third set was then decided by a 10-point super tiebreaker, where Garrapiz emerged victorious, 11-9, to round out the 6-1 decision for the Bulldogs. Garrapiz is now 7-4 in dual matches.
Tonight the Bulldogs faced off against former Georgia All-American Jamie Hunt, who is in his first season as the assistant coach at Vanderbilt. Hunt won a combined 240 matches in a Georgia uniform (114 singles, 126 doubles) from 2007-10 and was a part of the 2007 and 2008 national championship teams.
Georgia will remain on the road to take on No. 11 Kentucky – which suffered a 4-2 setback to second-ranked Tennessee tonight in Lexington – on Sunday at 1 p.m. Live scoring will be available on Georgiadogs.com.
#9 Georgia 6, #23 Vanderbilt 1