Bulldogs Open SEC Slate Sunday At Tennessee
Austin Smith


Austin Smith
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Feb. 28, 2014

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ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia men’s tennis team (4-5) is set to open the SEC slate on Sunday, traveling to take on 11th-ranked Tennessee (10-3) on the road in Knoxville. First serve is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Barksdale Stadium.

The Bulldogs are 21-4 in SEC openers under Manuel Diaz, including four straight. Last season, the Bulldogs opened the conference schedule with a 4-1 win over UT in Athens.

Tennessee will offer live scoring, live video, and a live blog on UTSports.com.

LOOKING AT THE VOLUNTEERS: No. 11 Tennessee enters the SEC opener with an overall record of 10-3. The Vols have been idle since their stint at the ITA National Indoor Championships in Houston, where they went 1-2 with a consolation round win over Pepperdine in their final match after two early losses. Tennessee has yet to lose at home this season, boasting an 8-0 mark in Knoxville.

Statistically, the Vols are led by 21st-ranked Hunter Reese’s 20 singles wins, while Markus Kerner stands with 15. No. 32 Mikelis Libietis (14) and Jarryd Chaplin (11) also have double-digit victories. The second-ranked doubles team of Libietis and Reese lead the way for the Vols with 20 wins.      

SERIES HISTORY: Georgia is 49-23 all-time vs. league rival Tennessee, including the 4-1 win over the Vols in the 2013 regular season as well as a 4-0 sweep in the finals of the SEC Tournament.

The Bulldogs have won the last four meetings in the series.

LAST TIME OUT: The Georgia men’s tennis team began the outdoor portion of its 2014 schedule with a 4-0 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

The Bulldogs (4-5) beat Tech (6-3) for the 27th time in 28 matches dating back to 1989 and improved to 53-2 in the series since 1969. Georgia won the doubles point, then got quick wins at Nos. 1 and 4 singles to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Austin Smith provided the clinch at No. 2, winning in three sets to seal it. Nathan Pasha’s victory at No. 1 was his team-leading 23rd of the season, while the Bulldogs’ No. 3 doubles team of Smith and Eric Diaz are now 7-1 on the season and 6-1 in dual matches.

IN THE RANKINGS: The Georgia men’s tennis team dropped to No. 35 in the first edition of the computerized ITA poll released this week. The Bulldogs were No. 12 in the previous ranking after opening the season at No. 3 and dropping one spot to No. 4 on Feb. 4.

In the singles rankings, Austin Smith is No. 16, followed by Nathan Pasha at No. 30, Ben Wagland at No. 66, Garrett Brasseaux at No. 76, and Nick Wood at No. 100.

In doubles, Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland are ranked No. 14.

The Bulldogs in 2014 returned the top five singles players from last year’s squad that reached the NCAA semifinals. UGA finished the 2013 season ranked third after the trip to the “Final Four.”

ON DECK: The Bulldogs return home for the first time in SEC play next weekend, hosting Mississippi State and Ole Miss March 7-9 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

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