ATHENS, Ga. --- The third-ranked Georgia men's tennis team improved to 17-1 on the year with a 6-1 non-conference win against No. 41 Southern Methodist Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens. The Bulldogs won the doubles point and took five of the six singles matches in the victory.
"I am extremely proud of the guys for such a great weekend," said head coach Manuel Diaz on Georgia's wins against Illinois on Friday and SMU on Sunday. "I knew it was going to be tough to come back (today) after Friday's emotional win against Illinois. Our guys came out really focused. We are doing a great job coming out prepared to play."
Georgia jumped out to an early 1-0 by winning two of the three doubles matches to secure the doubles point. The Bulldog duo of Adam Seri and Brandon Wagner ran their doubles record to 9-0 on the year with an 8-4 win against Krystian Pfeiffer and Alexis Rudzinski at No. 2. The pair of Nicolas Boeker and Lesley Joseph clinched the doubles point for Georgia with an 8-4 win against Gwinyai Chingoka and Lukasz Senczyszyn at No. 3.
At the top doubles spot, Matias Boeker and Bo Hodge were leading 7-6 and serving for the match when SMU's Eric Cohn and Johan Brunstrom broke serve to knot the score at 7-7. Hodge used a powerful serve to hold for an 8-8 tie to send the match into a tiebreak. The Mustangs won four of the first six points but Georgia would battle back to within one point at 6-5 before an overhead by Brunstrom prevented the Bulldog sweep.
Wagner was the first off the court in singles play with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 3 against Chingoka. M. Boeker gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with a straight-set win (6-1, 6-2) against No. 26 Pfeiffer at the top singles spot. Hodge gave Georgia its 12th straight win of the season with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Rudzinski in the No. 4 position.
"Matias Boeker is playing unbelievable tennis right now. I hope the people at the University and in the community realize that it is not every year that you see this kind of tennis," offered Diaz of Boeker's play. "For those that came out this weekend, they have seen some unbelievable tennis. When Mat is playing this way, it is special to watch. When we are in town, everyone should come out and watch."
N. Boeker continued to play well as he posted a 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 5 against Senczyszyn. The Mustangs registered their first point of the match when Ryan Maulk topped Georgia's Stéphan Timu 7-6, 6-3 at No. 6.
"Brandon, Bo and Nic played solid matches today," added Diaz. "Stéphan just had a bad day."
Joseph dropped the first set against Brunstrom 6-3 but battled back to win the second 7-5. In the third and deciding set, Joseph jumped out to a 4-1 lead en route to a 6-3 win to close the match for Georgia.
"It was great to see Lesley come back and win a great match after being outplayed in the first set," added Diaz. "It was awesome to see him raise his level of play."
The Bulldogs begin a two-game road swing Friday, March 29th with a 2 p.m. against No. 5 Ole Miss in Oxford. Georgia will square off against Mississippi State on Easter Sunday, March 31, beginning at 2 p.m. in Starkeville.
"We have to enjoy these wins, and after a day off, we have to start preparing for possibly the most important weekend of the season," said Diaz of the upcoming SEC road matches. "We face the No. 5 Ole Miss Rebels on their home court, and I think our guys will be prepared to play. Mississippi State has lost some close 4-3 matches and slipped some in the rankings, but I think they are every bit as good as the top ranked teams."
Doubles 1. Brunstrom/Cohn (SMU) def. M. Boeker/Hodge (UGA), 9-8 (5) 2. Seri/Wagner (UGA) def. Pfeiffer/Rudzinski (SMU), 8-4 3. N. Boeker/Joseph (UGA) def. Chingoka/Senczyszyn (SMU), 8-4* Singles 1. Matias Boeker (UGA) def. Krystian Pfeiffer (SMU), 6-1, 6-2 2. Lesley Joseph (UGA) def. Johan Brunstrom (SMU), 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 3. Brandon Wagner (UGA) def. Gwinyai Chingoka (SMU), 6-3, 6-1 4. Bo Hodge (UGA) vs. Alexis Rudzinski (SMU), 6-3, 6-2* 5. Nicolas Boeker (UGA def. Lukasz Senczyszyn (SMU), 6-4, 6-4 6. Ryan Maulk (SMU) def. Stéphan Timu (UGA), 7-6, 6-3
* clinched doubles point; clinched match