ATHENS, Ga. The third-ranked Georgia men's tennis team avenged its only loss of the season with a 5-2 win against No. 2 Illinois in chilly conditions at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens Friday evening. The Bulldogs earned the doubles point and won four of the six singles matches in the victory.
"I am really happy with our guys," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "We prepared for a big match, and we played well. Our doubles set the tempo. (Illinois) has a very deep and talented team."
In front of Georgia's biggest crowd this season, the Bulldogs looked sharp in winning two doubles matches for the day's first point. Brandon Wagner and Adam Seri went up an early break en route to an 8-6 win at No. 2. Matias Boeker and Bo Hodge battled with No. 4 Amer Delic and Michael Calkins at No. 1, and the Bulldog pair broke serve in the final game to clinch the doubles point with an 8-6 win. The duo of Nicolas Boeker and Lesley Joseph trailed 5-3 but drew even at 5-5 before play was suspended.
M. Boeker was the first off the court with a 6-1, 6-1 win in the top singles spot against Delic, who is ranked No. 9 in the latest Omni Hotels Individual Rankings, to give Georgia a 2-0 lead. M. Boeker fell to Delic in their previous meeting in the team indoors.
"I know Mat is capable of playing that well," Diaz said on M. Boeker's performance. "He was playing well and I liked that match-up. That was the Matias from NCAAs here last year, playing confident and aggressive."
The Illini cut the deficit in half as Calkins topped Stéphan Timu in straight sets (6-3, 6-0) at No. 5.
Hodge extended Georgia¹s lead to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Phil Stolt at the No. 3 position. N. Boeker, who did not play in the previous meeting between the two teams due to an ankle injury, clinched the match for Georgia as the junior defeated Zeder 6-1, 6-4 at No. 6.
Wagner was up a break and serving for the first set at 5-4 before Wilson broke back to even the issue at 5-5 in the No. 2 singles match. Both men held serve to send the set into a tiebreak. Wilson fired an ace to win the tiebreak 7-5 to take the first set, and he went on to win the second set 6-4 for Illinois' second point.
"I feel bad for Brandon," offered Diaz. "I felt he was in control of the match, and then he let the guy back in the match. Once (Wilson) got back in the match, he started taking risks and they worked in his favor. Brandon will continue to have a good year."
Joseph finished off the 11th consecutive win for the Bulldogs with a 7-6, 6-4 win at No. 4 against Kosta for the 5-2 final score.
The Bulldogs will be back in action Sunday, March 22, as they face No. 41 Southern Methodist at 1 p.m. in Athens.
No. 1 (38) M. Boeker/Hodge (UGA) def. (4) Calkins/Delic (UI), 8-6*
No. 2 (53) Wagner/Seri (UGA) def. Wilson/Stolt (UI), 8-6
No. 3 Joseph/N. Boeker (UGA) vs. Kosta/Zeder (UI), 5-5, susp.
Georgia wins doubles point
No. 1 (22) Matias Boeker (UGA) def. (9) Amer Delic (UI), 6-1, 6-1
No. 2 (72) Brian Wilson (UI) def. (15) Brandon Wagner (UGA), 7-6 (5), 6-4
No. 3 (89) Bo Hodge (UGA) def. (45) Phil Stolt (UI), 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 (71) Lesley Joseph (UGA) def. Mike Kosta (UI), 7-6, 6-4
No. 5 (93) Michael Calkins (UI) def. Stéphan Timu (UGA), 6-3, 6-0
No. 6 Nicolas Boeker (UGA) def. Nathan Zeder (UI), 6-1, 6-4*
*clinched doubles point; clinched match
FINAL SCORE Georgia 5, Illinois 2
RECORDS Georgia 16-1, 6-0 SEC
Illinois 12-4, 2-0 Big 10