Campbell Johnson (Photo by Bill Kallenberg)
March 13, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky.-----Trailing 3-1, the ninth-ranked Georgia men's tennis team won the final three matches to beat 11th-ranked Kentucky 4-3 Sunday at the Boone Tennis Complex.
Winners of seven straight matches, the Bulldogs improved to 12-3 overall and 4-0 in SEC play. UGA beat the Wildcats (13-5, 2-2) in similar fashion a year ago, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat UK 4-3 in Athens.
"This was a great win for our team," Georgia coach Manuel Diaz said. "We showed tremendous poise and composure under pressure. We really grew up a lot today, coming back to win with three three-setters. I was looking forward to seeing how we would respond to a gut-check, and we responded well today."
Ahead 3-1, Kentucky was on the verge of clinching the match, but 15th-ranked Georgia junior Wil Spencer held off fifth-ranked Eric Quigley, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 at No. 1, then Campbell Johnson tied the match at 3-3 with his 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 win over Tom Jomby at No. 6. Drake Bernstein, who clinched the match against Kentucky a year ago, finished off No. 86 Alberto Gonzalez, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 at No. 4 to give Georgia the win.
"Drake played with such poise serving out the match," Diaz said. "Campbell also played very well under pressure. He just kept believing and kept fighting, and he really stepped up today."
Kentucky won two out of three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead. Jomby and Gonzalez beat 36th-ranked Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada 8-3 at No. 2, but Georgia responded at No. 3 where the No. 79 team of Bernstein and Spencer downed Anthony Rossi and Alex Musialek 8-5. The Wildcats went on to clinch the point at No. 1 where Quigley and Brad Cox edged sixth-ranked Javier Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters, 9-8(3).
The Wildcats moved ahead 2-0 in singles when Rossi beat Pieters, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 5. Georgia then earned its first point as 37th-ranked Doumbia cruised past Cox, 6-2, 6-3 at No. 3. No. 57 Musialek extended UK's lead to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 24th-ranked Garrapiz at No. 2, but the Bulldogs won the remaining matches in three sets to stay unbeaten in SEC play.
"Kentucky has a great team and they could have won today, except our guys just hung in there," Diaz said. "They believed in themselves, fought like true Bulldogs and earned a great win."
With his win at No. 3, Doumbia improved to a team-best 27-6 including an 11-1 mark in dual matches. Bernstein has now won six straight matches and is 24-6 overall, and for Spencer it was his team-leading 13th-win over a ranked opponent.
Next up Georgia will play host to LSU Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.