Tennis wins first NCAA match

ATHENS - The ninth-seeded Georgia men's tennis team posted a 4-0 victory against Tennessee Tech in the opening round of the 2004 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens. The Bulldogs will face the Auburn/Texas winner on Sunday at 2 p.m., vying for a trip to the Round of 16 at the University of Tulsa on May 22.

"I am very pleased with the way we played," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "We could have done somethings better, but it has been three weeks since our last match. We may have been a little rusty."

The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (19-5) got on the first by winning two doubles matches to secure the doubles point. The duo of Ricardo Gonzalez and Matic Omerzel topped Dominik Hecht and Christoph 8-3 at No. 3 doubles, and the third-ranked tandem of Bo Hodge and John Isner clinched the point with an 8-3 decision against Marco Born and Luis Aguerrevere at the top doubles spot. Georgia went up 7-1 before the Golden Eagles won back-to-back games to bring the score to 7-3, but Hodge reeled off four straight aces to put the match in the books and the 8-3 final score.

Georgia trailed 3-5 in the No. 2 match when play was suspended.

"I wish we would have gotten off to a better start at No. 2 doubles," added Diaz. "But I think Nos. 1 and 3 really played well."

Georgia continued to roll in singles, as the Bulldogs won the first set in all six matches. Sophomore Strahinja Bobusic was the first off the court after topping Hecht in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0, to give Georgia a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 3-0 as Hodge, who is ranked No. 14 in the national singles rankings, cruised to a 6-4, 6-4 win against Born in the top singles match.

Junior Matias Ormaza, who clinched the 4-3 win in the SEC Tournament final, sent Georgia to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, as he defeated Razvan Ilie, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 3 singles for the 4-0 Bulldog victory.

"I think we looked a little rusty in singles," offered Diaz. "Matias and Bo both played solid. Stracky did a great job breaking in the last game of the first set, and he crusised from there. He has really grown a lot this year and is becoming more of a well-rounded player."

The three remaining matches were suspended once the outcome of the match had been determined.

"I thought it was a very competitive match," said Tennessee Tech head coach Aldrin Campos. "We had a few windows of opportunity. Give credit to Georgia; they played big when they needed to. We could have competed better, but it just did not happen today.

"It was a nice experience," added Campos of his team playing in Athens. "It was a nice environment, and (those associated with the tournament) made us feel at home. We work all year to play in the NCAAs."

Isner, who played with Hodge in doubles, did not play singles but is expected to be in the lineup on Sunday.

"I think he looked good in doubles," said Diaz on Isner's play. "We are excited about his progress, and we just wanted to keep him fresh."


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