May 14, 2011
ATHENS-----The sixth-ranked Georgia men's tennis team advanced to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championships with a 4-0 win over No. 23 Auburn here Saturday. The sixth-seeded Bulldogs will face the winner of Duke and Maryland in the round of 16 Thursday, May 19 at 12 p.m. at Sanford, Calif.
Georgia has now won 21 of its last 23 NCAA Tournament matches dating back to 2007, and this marks the Bulldogs' eighth straight trip to the Round of 16.
"This was obviously a big goal for our guys," Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz said. "It was among the top three goals to accomplish, and it was a big win. Our guys are excited, and we are looking forward to going to Stanford, and trying to continue to improve as a team. Hopefully we can make a big splash over there. We were sharp yesterday, but I think we played a little better today. Auburn is a great team, they really challenged us everywhere, and we did a good job handling that."
Georgia (22-5) won the doubles points to take a 1-0 lead. The Bulldog tandem of Wil Spencer and Drake Bernstein easily handled Lucas Lopasso and Rafael Rondino, 8-1, to give Georgia the upper hand. Then with two close matches at Nos. 1 and 2, it was the 88th-ranked team of Ignacio Taboada and Sadio Doumbia that clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 win at No. 2 over Andreas Mies and Alex Stamchev.
In singles, Hernus Pieters won Georgia's first match for the second straight day, 6-2, 6-1 over Michael Wardell at No. 6 to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Then Bernstein won his final match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Daniel Cochrane to extend the Georgia lead to 3-0. The clincher was provided by Ignacio Taboada, who beat Rafael Rondino, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 5. Georgia also won the first sets in the suspended matches at Nos. 2 and 3.
"We are really excited to punch our ticket to Stanford," Bernstein. "We've done it all four years since I've been here, and now it's eight years in a row, so we are pretty excited. It's a big win, but we know we have a lot more to do if we want to accomplish our goals."
The NCAA Championships will begin Thursday at Stanford with the men's Round of 16. The quarterfinals are slated for Saturday, and the men's and women's finals are scheduled for Tuesday, May 24. The individual portion of the tournament will begin May 25.
Auburn ends the season at 16-10.
#6 GEORGIA (22-5) def. #23 AUBURN (16-10), 4-0
Doubles (Order of finish: 3,2)
1. #6 Javier Garrapiz/Hernus Pieters (GEORGIA) vs. #12 Tim Puetz/Daniel Cochrane (AUBURN), 8-8, unf.
2. #88 Sadio Doumbia/Ignacio Taboada (GEORGIA) def . Andreas Mies/Alex Stamchev (AUBURN), 8-6
3. Wil Spencer/Drake Bernstein (GEORGIA) def. Lucas Lopasso/Rafael Rondino (AUBURN), 8-1
Singles (Order of finish: 6,4,5*)
1. #18 Wil Spencer (GEORGIA) vs. #12 Tim Puetz (AUBURN), 4-6, 5-4, unf.
2. #32 Javier Garrapiz (GEORGIA) vs. #115 Alex Stamchev (AUBURN), 7-5, unf.
3. #51 Sadio Doumbia (GEORGIA) vs. Andreas Mies (AUBURN), 6-4, 4-1, unf.
4. Drake Bernstein (GEORGIA) def. Daniel Cochrane (AUBURN), 6-0, 6-4
5. Ignacio Taboada (GEORGIA) def. Rafael Rondino (AUBURN), 6-3, 6-4*
6. Hernus Pieters (GEORGIA) def. Michael Wardell (AUBURN), 6-2, 6-1