Men's Tennis travels to Clemson

ATHENS - The No. 2 University of Georgia men¹s tennis team (1-0) travel to Clemson, S.C. on Friday for a 3 p.m. matchup with the Tigers (3-0). Clemson is ranked No. 27 nationally and is undefeated after three consecutive victories at the Army Men¹s Tennis Invitational at West Point, N.Y.

"This match is another part of a great tennis rivalry that goes back well over 30 years,² said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. ³We have had some tremendous matches in the past with Clemson and I expect another close, tight contest on Friday. It¹s going to be a big challenge for us going on the road. This is a team that made the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament two years ago and made the second round last year, and they have returned almost all of their core players.²

The advantage in the series goes to the Dogs, who own a 35-11 edge all-time against the Tigers. Their last meeting was in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, when Georgia dispatched the Tigers, 4-0, in a second round contest at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Georgia has won 13 of the last 15 matches against Clemson, dating back to 1988. That stretch included a run of 10 consecutive Bulldog wins from 1989-2002. Georgia has also topped the Tigers in four of five matches on Clemson¹s home courts.

The Bulldogs have suffered some early-season bumps and bruises, but Diaz feels that the team is getting healthier and making progress in the injury department.

³Antonio Ruiz (shoulder) went through a full day of practice Tuesday,² said Diaz. ³We are hopeful that he will be back in the lineup for Clemson. Colin Purcell (hip) continues to rehab, but he is less likely to be ready for Friday. We are being a little bit more cautious with that injury.²

The Bulldogs opened up their season on Sunday with a 7-0 sweep of the No. 32 Louisville Cardinals at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Courts. After the teams split the first two doubles matches, Josh Varela and Ricardo Gonzalez camefrom behind to win their match, 9-7, giving Georgia the 1-0 lead.

Matic Omerzel gave the Dogs a 2-0 edge with his straight-set singles win over Jeremy Clark at the fourth position. In the second spot, Luis Flores extended the Georgia advantage to 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Damar Johnson. The match was clinched by senior captain Strahinja Bobusic playing out of the third spot, with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Jakob Gustafsson.

With the match in hand, John Isner went on to beat Slavko Radman, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 at the top singles spot. Gonzalez followed suit in the fifth position, downing Nicolas Houard, 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8). Varela closed out the sweep at the sixth position with a hard-fought 6-1, 7-5 victory over Jhonny Berrido.


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