Oct. 5, 2013
TULSA, Okla.-----Georgia sophomore Austin Smith was edged by Vanderbilt's Gonzales Austin, 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 7-6(5) in the quarterfinals of the ITA All-American Championships Saturday at the Case Tennis Center.
This was the third time Smith and Austin had faced each other this fall, with Smith winning the first two matchups in the quarterfinals of the Southern Intercollegiates and the SEC Fall Classic. On Saturday, Smith fought off eight match points before the Commodores' 35th-ranked Austin prevailed in the third set tiebreaker.
"I can't say enough about Austin and how proud I am of the way he competed," said UGA head coach Manuel Diaz. "Having gone through three qualifying matches and with his last three matches going three sets, he looked a little off rhythm and a little tired early on. But he stayed in it and made it to the tiebreaker at the end. To win that second set tiebreaker showed tremendous courage, and that is exactly what we want from our players. Austin continues to take huge steps in the right direction."
Smith earned a spot in the main draw of the All-American Championships by winning three qualifying matches earlier in the week. Since the season began on Sept. 13, the Cumming, Ga., native has gone 15-3, including 7-3 against ranked opponents. By reaching the quarterfinals this week, he earned an automatic berth into the ITA National Indoor Championships in Flushing, N.Y., Nov. 7-10.
Georgia players will be back in action at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships Oct. 11-14 in Atlanta.