Freshman Austin Smith
Feb. 7, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The sixth-ranked University of Georgia men’s tennis team (3-1) will play its second straight road match when it travels to take on 65th-ranked Georgia Tech in a continuation of a long-standing in-state rivalry series this Fri., Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. at the brand-new Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta.
Live scoring for the match-up will be available on Georgiadogs.com courtesy of Georgia Tech Athletics.
LOOKING AT GEORGIA TECH: Currently ranked No. 65 in the ITA poll, Georgia Tech enters the weekend at 2-3 overall coming off last Saturday’s 6-1 loss to South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. The Yellow Jackets are in the midst of a four straight matches against SEC teams, set to meet Auburn and Tennessee after the Bulldogs.
The Yellow Jackets currently have one player ranked in singles in No. 32 Juan Spir, while the doubles team of Spir and Vikram Hundal is currently No. 3 in the nation. Tech’s other team of Spir and Eduardo Segura is ranked 54th nationally.
SERIES HISTORY: Georgia is a staggering 58-9 all-time vs. its in-state foe, its most wins against any team. Most recently, Georgia earned a 7-0 sweep of Georgia Tech in Athens last season.
The Bulldogs held a 24-match winning streak over the Yellow Jackets that spanned all of Manuel Diaz’s tenure as head coach dating back to 1988, but was snapped in a five-hour 4-3 loss to Tech on Feb. 12, 2011 - the last time Georgia played in Atlanta.
LAST TIME OUT: The sixth-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team suffered its first loss of the season Sunday, falling to No. 4 Ohio State, 5-2, at OSU’s Varsity Tennis Center. With the win, Ohio State extended its home court winning streak to 156 matches.
Georgia’s points came at Nos. 1 and 6 singles. Eighth-ranked KU Singh knocked off the nation’s top-ranked player, Peter Kobelt, 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 (10-8), and freshman Nick Wood won for the second time this year with a 6-7(5), 6-4, 1-0 (10-3) super tiebreaker victory over Hunter Callahan at No. 6. Singh improved to 11-4 on the season and picked up his eighth win over a ranked opponent.
YOUNG PUPS: Georgia has gotten strong play at the outset of the season from the team’s freshmen. Rookie Ben Wagland has compiled an 11-4 mark overall and a 3-1 record in dual matches, including a clinch vs. VCU to send Georgia back to National Indoors. Austin Smith is 9-4 overall and 2-1 in duals, while Nick Wood - who joined the team in January - is 2-1.
The Bulldogs will need to rely heavily on their rookies in 2013, as at least two freshmen have played singles in each of the first three matches, while three have played twice. Georgia lost three of last season’s regular starters to graduation.
IN THE RANKINGS: Georgia remained No. 6 in the ITA team rankings for the fourth straight week on Feb. 5, and a new team ranking will not be released until Feb. 19. With that, the Bulldogs have now been ranked in the top six every week since May 2, 2011 and in the top-10 since March 29, 2011.
Individually, Georgia boasts three players in the singles top 20 in KU Singh (No. 8), Hernus Pieters (No. 16), and Nathan Pasha (No. 19). In doubles, the team of Pieters and freshman Ben Wagland are No. 5 while Wagland is No. 29 with Pasha. New singles and doubles rankings will be released after the National Team Indoors.
ON DECK: The Bulldogs are next in action at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 15-18 in Seattle. The draw for the event - which features 16 of the nation’s top teams vying for an indoor national title - will be released Tues., Feb. 12.