May 12, 2013
ATHENS, Ga.--The No. 4 seeded Georgia women's tennis team punched its ticket to the round of 16, topping Arizona State 4-0 Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Georgia (23-3) will face the No. 13 seed Clemson Friday, May 17 at 12:00 p.m. CT in Champaign, Ill.
It's the 13th time that the Bulldogs have advanced to the round of 16 since the tournament moved to its current format in 1999. Georgia improves to 24-0 in first and second round matches that have been hosted in Athens.
"In college tennis you look at a score of 4-0 and think that it was easy, but that certainly wasn't the case," said head coach Jeff Wallace. "Each time Arizona State raised their game, we would match it and raise ours a little more. At the end when we clinched we actually led on every court. I'm so proud of our team. It's such an exciting day to go on to the Sweet 16. We're fired up that we get to go on to Illinois, and we're looking forward to this next opportunity."
Georgia won its 24th doubles point of the season with wins on courts one and two. Silvia Garcia and Kate Fuller, the top-ranked tandem in the country, beat Arizona State's No. 31 team of Jacqueline Cako and Nicole Smith, 8-3. They are now 10-2 versus nationally ranked opponents this season. Arizona State evened the doubles point when Hannah James and Joanna Smith topped Georgia's Ayaka Okuno and Mia King, 8-3. The Bulldogs' No. 52 duo of Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase clinched the point with an 8-4 defeat of Desirae Krawczyk and Leighann Sahagun.
In singles, Georgia got wins on courts 3-5 to clinch the victory. The Bulldogs led on every court when the match was suspended.
Kate Fuller was first off the court with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Stephanie Vlad. The win was Fuller's 30th of the 2012-13 campaign. No. 104 Garcia gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with a thrilling 6-2, 7-6 (1) win over Sahagun. Garcia improves to 23-3 in her freshman campaign. Okuno clinched the match and punched Georgia's ticket to Champaign, Ill., with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Hannah James. Okuno clinched Georgia's 4-0 win over Winthrop on Saturday.
"We're so excited to be in the Sweet 16," Fuller said. "We played really well, and it was a good battle. We knew after the doubles point they were going to come out and play really well in singles. We saw that yesterday against Oklahoma. We lost three first sets and they were really playing well, but it was good to see how everyone responded to that. By the time that match was over, everyone was in the lead, so that gives us a really good feeling going up to Illinois."
With today's win, Georgia improves to 3-1 all-time versus Arizona State. The Sun Devils finish the year 17-6.
Georgia prepares to face a very familiar opponent in the round of 16 in Clemson. The Bulldogs are 25-19 all-time versus Clemson, including a 5-2 win on the road earlier this season.
The NCAA Championships will begin in at the University of Illinois Thursday with the men's round of 16. The women's round of 16 matches are slated for Friday, and the finals for both genders will be played Tuesday, May 21. The singles and doubles portion of the tournament will begin May 22.