Tennis to play for National Indoor Title

SEATTLE, Wash. – The No. 2-ranked University of Georgia men's tennis team (7-0) advanced to the final of the ITA Team Indoor Championships with a 4-3 victory over No. 3 Illinois Sunday evening. The Bulldogs got the match-clinching win from 12th-ranked senior captain Strahinja Bobusic at the No. 4 spot for the second consecutive night, as he took down 53rd-ranked Ruben Gonzales, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

"We played another awesome match today," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "Illinois is a very, very good team and it took our absolute best tennis to win. Now we have to do our best to overcome the issue of having to play on short rest tomorrow against a better-rested and very solid Pepperdine team. But, we are playing for a National Indoor Championship and I assure you that we will give it everything we've got."

After Georgia won the doubles point, Illinois picked up three straight victories to take a 3-1 match advantage. With Illinois needing just one more win to clinch the contest, Georgia mounted a three-match comeback to recover from deficit. Second-ranked junior John Isner grabbed UGA's first singles win, a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) victory over 7th-ranked Ryler DeHeart at the No. 2 singles position, cutting the Fighting Illini's edge to 3-2. Next up was Flores, who earned another hard-fought victory for the Bulldogs at the No. 1 spot, beating GD Jones 7-5, 7-5, setting Bobusic up for the match-clinching win.

"Once again Stracky (Bobusic) came up huge for our team," said Diaz. He is just playing very focused, aggressive, tenacious tennis. Also Luis (Flores) was phenomenal at No. 1. He was down a service break in both sets and fought back to win. Jones was even serving for the set in the second, but Luis stepped up and broke him again.

"It was a tremendous team victory," Diaz continued. "The fact that we lost three singles matches was in no way due to us performing poorly. Everyone played great and I cannot say enough about our effort."

After Georgia had won the doubles point, Illinois picked up three straight victories to take a 3-1 match lead. At the No. 3 spot, 37th-ranked Kevin Anderson took down senior captain Antonio Ruiz in three sets, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, to tie the match at one apiece. The Fighting Illini then took a 2-1 advantage with a win at No. 5 singles, as 99th-ranked Ryan Rowe downed 96th-ranked junior Matic Omerzel, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. Illinois' third point came from the No. 6 spot as Georgia's junior Ricardo Gonzalez fell to Spicijaric, 4-6, 6-7.

Georgia had taken a 1-0 match lead after winning the doubles point for the seventh time this season. The sixth-ranked senior captain duo Bobusic and Colin Purcell picked up the Bulldogs' first doubles win as they took down DeHeart and Gonzales, 8-4. Illinois then earned a doubles split, as Anderson and Rowe took down UGA's Isner and Ruiz, 8-6. With the doubles point hanging in the balance, Omerzel and Flores won four straight games, overcoming a 7-5 deficit to take a 9-7 victory from Jones and Spicijaric, clinching the doubles point for Georgia.

The Bulldogs will play for the National Team Indoor Championship on Monday against No. 4 Pepperdine. This appearance in the finals is the fifth in the team's history. This Grand Slam title is the only one that UGA has never won, despite making the finals four other times, with the last appearance coming in 1997. The match against the Waves is slated to begin at 3 p.m. EST. Live stats and a live webcam are both available at no charge by accessing www.gohuskies.com, the official website of the University of Washington, the host school of the event.


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