April 1, 2011
OXFORD, Miss. --- Senior captains Drake Bernstein and Javier Garrapiz won both their singles and doubles matches to help the ninth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team to a 4-3 win over No. 25 Ole Miss Friday night at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in Oxford, Miss. Garrapiz fought off a late break point and followed it with a break of his own to clinch his third match of the season and lock up Georgia’s 11th straight victory.
The win keeps the Bulldogs undefeated at 7-0 in the conference and, coupled with a 6-1 Mississippi State victory over Tennessee tonight in Starkville, gives Georgia sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Conference as the only remaining unbeaten team.
“This was a great match and a hard-fought battle in front of a great crowd,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “It was just a great collegiate match. Our guys really rose to the challenge as Ole Miss made a big charge and really, really played well across the board. I am very proud of the way our guys came through in both doubles and in singles.”
The Bulldogs dropped the Rebels to 10-5 (4-3) and improved to 34-9 all-time in the series.
Georgia (16-3, 7-0) started the night with a doubles win at No. 3 as the team of Bernstein and junior Wil Spencer cruised past Tucker Vorster and Adrian Forberg by a score of 8-2 as that duo improves to 21-6 on the year. The second Bulldog win of the night – and the clinching doubles victory – came at No. 2 as 35th-ranked Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada defeated Jonas Lutjen and Johan Backstrom 8-5. They move to 21-6 on the year and have won four straight.
Still on court was 11th-ranked Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters, who closed out their match in a premature tiebreaker vs. No. 8 Chris and Marcel Thiemann, claiming the breaker 7-5 to win it 8-7(5). The win improved Georgia’s No. 1 duo to 21-5 on the year and was their fourth straight win, while it gave the Bulldogs their 10th doubles point in the last 11 attempts and was the seventh sweep of the season as UGA took a 1-0 lead into singles competition.
The Bulldogs got an early 2-0 cushion as Doumbia’s opponent at No. 3, Kalle Norberg, retired due to a foot injury with Doumbia leading 3-0 in the first set. The win was Doumbia’s team-leading 30th of the season.
Bernstein made the Georgia lead 3-0 as he posted a straight-set win over Lutjen at No. 4, winning 6-4, 6-2 to secure his 10th singles victory in a row and improving to 16-2 in dual matches this season and 7-0 in the SEC. Ole Miss then got its first point of the night at No. 5, as Chris Thiemann defeated Pieters 6-4, 6-2 to cut it to 3-1.
After dropping the first set 6-1 to 40th-ranked Marcel Thiemann, Spencer fought back to force a second-set tiebreaker at No. 1, but fell in the breaker 7-1 as Ole Miss collected another win with a 6-1, 7-6(1) win to make it 3-2 in favor of the Bulldogs.
That left a pair of Spaniards still on court in Garrapiz and Taboada. Garrapiz was up a set and held to take a 5-4 lead over No. 108 Vorster, who held to make it 5-5. Vorster then had break point on Garrapiz, but the senior fought it off and then broke to clinch with a 6-3, 7-5 win at No. 2. The Huesca, Spain, native moves to 27-10 on the season and picked up his ninth win of the season over a ranked opponent.
Taboada had split sets with Forberg at No. 6 and led 1-0 in the third before Diaz suspended the match, which officially made the score 4-3 as the Bulldogs headed out of town to their next destination.
“We can’t get complacent as we have another tough challenge on the road on Sunday at Mississippi State,” Diaz said. “We’re playing a team that is really playing well right now and playing with a lot of confidence. They are definitely going to try to make a statement on Sunday against us and hopefully we’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight and be ready for probably our most important match to date in the conference race.”
The Bulldogs will meet MSU on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET in Starkville, closing the regular-season road slate before heading home for three at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
#9 Georgia 4, #25 Ole Miss 3
1. #40 Marcel Thiemann (OM) def. #14 Wil Spencer (UGA) 6-1, 7-6 (7-1)
2. #29 Javier Garrapiz (UGA) def. #108 Tucker Vorster (OM) 6-3, 7-5
3. #54 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) def. Kalle Norberg (OM) 3-0, retired
4. Drake Bernstein (UGA) def. Jonas Lutjen (OM) 6-4, 6-2
5. Chris Thiemann (OM) def. Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-4, 6-2
6. Adrian Forberg (OM) def. Ignacio Taboada (UGA) 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 0-1, retired
1. #11 Javier Garrapiz/Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. #8 Marcel Thiemann/Chris Thiemann (OM) 8-7 (7-5)
2. #37 Sadio Doumbia/Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Jonas Lutjen/Johan Backstrom (OM) 8-5
3. Drake Bernstein/Wil Spencer (UGA) def. Tucker Vorster/Adrian Forberg (OM) 8-2
Georgia 16-3 (7-0); National ranking #9
Ole Miss 10-5 (4-3); National ranking #25
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (3,4,5,1,2,6)