Men's Tennis Sweeps No. 32 Louisville 7-0

ATHENS – The No. 3 University of Georgia men's tennis team (1-0) defeated the No. 32 Louisville Cardinals (3-2) by a score of 7-0 Sunday afternoon at the Lindsay Hopkins Indoor Courts. 12th-ranked senior captain Strahinja Bobusic won the match-clinching contest at the third singles spot with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Jakob Gustafsson.

"Today was a total team effort," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "I am really proud of all of our guys."

Georgia jumped out to a 1-0 match lead after winning the doubles point. The point was clinched by the Bulldog tandem of junior Ricardo Gonzalez and freshman Josh Varela as they came back from a 5-3 deficit to win 9-7 at the third position. Bobusic and junior John Isner teamed up to win at the first doubles position, 8-5, over Gustafsson and Jeremy Clark. Louisville pulled the doubles score even at 1-1 when Jhonny Berrido and Damar Johnson overtook Georgia's duo of junior Matic Omerzel and sophomore Luis Flores at the second doubles spot.

"I love the way Ricardo and Josh finished up the doubles point for us," said Diaz. "It was inspiring. They played with a lot of enthusiasm and they really had to play their best to get that point."

In singles play, Omerzel gave Georgia a 2-0 edge as he defeated Clark at the fourth singles spot, 6-3, 6-2. Right behind him was Flores at the second position, handing Damar Johnson a 6-4, 6-3 loss to make it a 3-0 Bulldog advantage, setting up Bobusic for the clincher.

"I think the biggest thing for us today is that we won without two of our key guys," said Bobusic. "It really showed that we can still go out and perform and win. I think the final doubles match with Josh and Ricky really pushed the match in our favor. Especially with Josh being a freshman, he showed a lot of guts today."

With the match in hand, Isner went on to defeat Slavko Radman in three sets, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, at the number one singles spot. Gonzalez took Louisville's Nicolaus Houard into a tie-break at the number five singles position, beating the senior 6-2, 3-6, 1-0. The final match of the night pitted Georgia freshman Josh Varela against senior Jhonny Berrido. Down 4-5 in the second set, Varela rallied back and won three consecutive games to lock up the 6-1, 7-5 victory and the Bulldog sweep.

"John was not at his best today," said Diaz. "But he should still be commended. He went the distance and fought through it, I think he just needs another week of work to get a little bit sharper. I thought overall we were great in singles, with Luis and Matic getting us out front and then Bobusic clinching it for us."

"The next step for us is Clemson," continued Diaz. "It will be a huge challenge. Hopefully we can get a little bit healthier and be at full strength, but that remains a big question for us right now."

The Bulldogs were without the services of senior captains Antonio Ruiz (shoulder) and Colin Purcell (hip) for the match with Louisville.

Georgia is back in action on Friday, February 3, as the team travels to Clemson for a 3 p.m. tilt with the 27th-ranked Tigers.

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