Men's Tennis Pushes Winning Streak To 12

Photo Gallery (By Bill Kallenberg)

April 3, 2011

Complete Results

STARKVILLE, Miss. --- With a match that featured four tiebreakers and three third sets, the No. 9 Georgia men’s tennis team put another one in the win column Sunday, extending its unbeaten streak to 12 straight with a 4-3 decision over 32nd-ranked Mississippi State at the Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville.

The Bulldogs have now put together their longest winning streak since taking 14 in a row in a stretch that spanned the end of the 2008 national championship run and the beginning of the 2009 season. Georgia moves to 17-3 overall and uses an unblemished 8-0 Southeastern Conference record to sit atop the league standings with two weekends remaining.

Mississippi State falls to 10-7 (5-3) with the loss. Georgia has now won eight straight over the other Bulldogs with an all-time series record of 50-11.

The Bulldogs capped off a successful 2-0 swing through the Magnolia State including Friday night’s win over Ole Miss in Oxford by the same 4-3 score.

“I’m terribly proud of our guys – they are going to need a day off for sure,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “This was an extremely hard-fought match. Mississippi State is impressive the way they have improved as a team, and coach [Per] Nilsson has done a tremendous job there. They really, really play hard. Our guys competed so well. We lost some momentum in a couple matches at certain points but kept our composure and tenacity in fighting back.”

This afternoon’s match saw Georgia take a 1-0 lead with its 11th doubles victory in the last 12 tries, before the singles matches split at three apiece but the Bulldogs of the East were able to come away with the narrow victory thanks to the second consecutive clincher from senior Javier Garrapiz on court two.

“It was good for Javi to finally get the break in the third set after losing the second when he had been up 4-1,” Diaz added. “Most people would have faded away out of frustration, but he didn’t allow it to get to him and continued to fight. I am very proud of the way he fought and the way everyone fought. It feels good to be heading into next weekend in first place. We have a big match on Friday night vs. Florida and we need to get a lot of fans out for that.”

Doubles began with a Mississippi State victory at No. 2 as the team of George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin defeated No. 37 Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada 8-3. But Georgia came right back with an 8-6 win at No. 3 as the team of Drake Bernstein and Wil Spencer defeated James Chaudry and Zach White to even the score. The Bulldogs got the clinching doubles decision at No. 1 as 11th-ranked Garrapiz and freshman Hernus Pieters won their fifth in a row going 8-2 over No. 84 Louis Cant and Malte Stropp.

Georgia pushed its lead to 2-0 with a gutsy performance from Taboada at No. 6 singles. After going down 4-1 to White, the junior rallied to win the first set in a tiebreaker and cruised in the second set to capture the 7-6(6), 6-1 win. The Bulldogs went up 3-0 as Spencer also prevailed in a tiebreaker on his way to a 7-6(2), 6-0 win over 94th-ranked Ilyushin at No. 1.

MSU began its comeback charge at No. 4 as Bernstein couldn’t overcome a first-set loss despite a 7-1 record in that situation entering today. After dropping the first 6-4, Bernstein took a 5-2 lead in the second over Stropp but allowed his counterpart to fight back and force a breaker. Stropp took the tiebreak to claim a 6-4, 7-6(5) win that snapped Bernstein’s singles winning streak at 10 matches and gave State its first point of the day.

From there, the Bulldogs needed just one more ‘W’ with courts 2,3, and 5 all still on in third sets. Mississippi State pulled to within one when 77th-ranked Cant pulled out the win over Pieters at No. 5, going 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. That left Garrapiz and Doumbia still on, each holding onto 4-3 leads in the third with Garrapiz receiving on serve at No. 2 and Doumbia serving up a break on 3.

It would be No. 29 Garrapiz who would hold serve at 5-5 to take a late lead and break 76th-ranked Coupland handily to provide Georgia’s clincher for the second time this weekend, sealing the 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win to give the Bulldogs the 4-2 lead. In the final match still on, No. 54 Doumbia had responded from a 6-0 loss in the first set to beat Chaudry 6-2 in the second, but the match was headed to a third-set tiebreak where MSU prevailed to take it 6-0, 2-6, 7-6(0), making the final score 4-3.

Georgia remains in the hunt for its 26th SEC regular season title as it returns home for three at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex vs. a trio of Eastern Division foes in Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee. First up are the 15th-ranked Gators on Fri., April 8 at 5 p.m. Live scoring and the live blog will be running in addition to free streaming video of all six courts.

#9 Georgia 4, #32 Mississippi State 3

 Singles competition
1. #14 Wil Spencer (UGA) def. #94 Artem Ilyushin (MSU) 7-6 (7-2), 6-0
2. #29 Javier Garrapiz (UGA) def. #76 George Coupland (MSU) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
3. James Chaudry (MSU) def. #54 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) 6-0, 2-6, 7-6 (7-0)
4. Malte Stropp (MSU) def. Drake Bernstein (UGA) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
5. #77 Louis Cant (MSU) def. Hernus Pieters (UGA) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2
6. Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Zach White (MSU) 7-6 (8-6), 6-1

 Doubles competition
1. #11 Javier Garrapiz/Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. #84 Louis Cant/Malte Stropp (MSU) 8-2
2. Artem Ilyushin/George Coupland (MSU) def. #37 Sadio Doumbia/Ignacio Taboada (UGA) 8-3
3. Drake Bernstein/Wil Spencer (UGA) def. Zach White/James Chaudry (MSU) 8-6

Match Notes:
Georgia 17-3 (8-0); National ranking #9
Mississippi State 10-7 (5-3); National ranking #32
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,1,4,5,2,3)



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