16th straight win for tennis over Tech

ATHENS - The No. 17 Georgia men's tennis team looked to their No. 6 singles position and freshman Ricardo Gonzales to clinch their 16th straight victory over in-state rival Georgia Tech Wednesday afternoon at the Henry Field Stadium Courts. Freshman John Isner remained unbeaten in singles play while Gonzalez secured the 4-3 win for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs (8-2) took the doubles point and gained an early advantage with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. Georgia's John Isner and Bo Hodge earned a late break to seal the victory over the Yellow Jacket tandem of Scott Schnugg and Marko Rajevac while Strahinja Bobusic and Matias Ormaza clinched the doubles point with their 8-6 decision over Tech's Jason Pieters and West Nott.

After a brief intermission, Georgia jumped out to an early lead in singles play with John Isner's 6-4, 6-4 win over Tech's Jose Muguruza.

"I'm playing with a lot of confidence now," Isner said. "I hate to lose, so I got out there every match expecting to win. I just try to give it my all and hopefully give my team a point."

"John's playing awfully well and improving every week," Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz said. "He competes with passion and intensity and plays to win."

Tech quickly dissolved Georgia's 2-0 cushion with back-to-back singles wins at No. 3 and No. 4. Tech's Jason Pieters won a three-set decision over Georgia's Matias Ormaza 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 and Georgia's Matic Omerzel fell to Tech's West Nott 7-6(3), 6-3 to knot the match at 2-2.

Georgia's Bo Hodge then dropped a two-set contest at No. 1 singles to Tech's Scott Schnugg. Hodge rallied from a 2-5 first set deficit to force a tiebreak at 6-6. Knotted at 3-3 in the tiebreak, Schnugg secured the first set by reeling off three points in a row and held on for the win with a 7-5 result in the second set.

With two matches remaining, Georgia needed wins at both No. 5 and No. 6 to secure a win. Bobusic was doing battle with Rath at No. 5 while Gonzalez was taking on Menano at No. 6.

Bobusic fought back from a one set deficit to win his match at No.5 and pull Georgia into a tie with the Yellow Jackets.

All eyes were then focused on the freshman Gonzales and his match at No. 6 against Menano. Gonzalez earned the victory on a break-point double fault that clinched the win for the Bulldogs.

"I was really pleased with our last two guys out on the court," commented Diaz. "We could compete harder in some instances and that's a concern, but our No. 5 and 6 players today refused to lose."

The Bulldogs will be back in action March 19, as they travel to Starkville to take on the Bulldogs of Mississippi State at 2 p.m. Eastern.

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