Men's Tennis comes back on Gators

ATHENS – The No. 1-ranked University of Georgia men's tennis team (14-0, 4-0 SEC) came from behind to defeat the No. 5 Florida Gators (8-4, 2-2 SEC) to remain undefeated on the season. After losing the doubles point for the first time all season, Georgia rallied back in singles play in front of a season-best crowd of over 1,234 fans, winning four of the six matches.

The match-clinching win came off the racquet of 29th-ranked Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) at the No. 2 singles position, as he overcame a first-set loss to take down Janne Holmia, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7).

"A match like this is the reason people come to play at Georgia," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "It was a beautiful day with a huge crowd and a lot of pressure. I could probably give a thousand reasons why we should have lost this match, but we found a way to squeak through and get the job done. That's the true mark of a championship team, to win when you are not playing well – and today we did not play very well."

"I was definitely feeling the pressure at the end," said Flores. "When (Omerzel's) match finished to make it 3-3 and it was all down to my match, I just tried to stay calm, keep moving my feet and stay loose. I wasn't playing that well but I just did my best and did what it took to win."

After falling doubles play, Georgia stepped up its play in the singles contests. First off the court was senior captain Colin Purcell (Louisville, Ky.) at the sixth spot as he defeated Ryan Sherry, 6-2, 6-3, to tie the match at 1-1. Next up was No. 1-ranked junior John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.) as he won his 12th consecutive singles match, downing No. 39 Greg Oullette in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, giving Georgia a 2-1 lead. Florida came right back to tie it up however, as Vladimir Obradovic took down Georgia's Antonio Ruiz (Monterrey, Mexico), 6-3, 7-5, from the third position.

With the match knotted at 2-2, Florida's Nestor Briceno gave the Gators a 3-2 lead with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over 30th-ranked senior captain Strahinja Bobusic (Perth, Australia). Less than one minute later though, the Bulldogs' Matic Omerzel (Kranj, Slovenia) tied the match at 3-3 with a win at the fifth singles spot, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, topping Chris Brandi, to set Flores up for the dramatic match-clincher.

In doubles play, Florida topped the Bulldogs at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. UF's Briceno and Tell took down No. 7-ranked Isner and Ruiz at the top doubles spot, 9-7. Obradovic and Holmia beat Georgia's 9th-ranked senior-captain duo of Bobusic and Purcell, 8-4, to clinch the doubles point. Georgia got its only doubles win at the third position, as the 55th-ranked team of Flores and Omerzel beat Florida's Brandi and Oullette, 9-8.

"Florida had to be thinking that in order to beat us they really needed that doubles point," said Diaz. "So we knew they were really going to bring it in the doubles and they did. But we also knew that it was going to be very hard for them to beat us in singles three times, we would really have to not play well. They came awfully close to doing that but we were able to fight and hold on."

Georgia returns to action Wednesday, March 15, as Georgia hosts another Top-25 opponent when No. 18 Georgia Tech comes to Athens. That match is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Dawg Post Top Stories