Men's Tennis Knocks Off Alabama 6-1

ATHENS – The No. 1-ranked University of Georgia men's tennis team (17-0, 6-0 SEC) handed No. 43 Alabama (9-8, 2-4 SEC) a 6-1 loss Sunday afternoon at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Senior tri-captain Antonio Ruiz broke his three-match skid with a convincing 6-3, 6-2 victory at the fourth singles spot, downing Sammy Struyf to give the Bulldogs the match-clinching win.

"Our guys did about as well as they could have today," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "Alabama is a much improved, up and coming team with some good athletes and they are very well coached, and we were coming off of a tough match at Auburn. I am pleased with how we responded today. We have to pat ourselves on the back a little bit for the way we've played so far but we need to continue to work and hard and improve ourselves. We have another big challenge coming up next weekend with Kentucky and Vanderbilt."

After sweeping the doubles matches, Georgia extending its lead to 2-0 as senior tri-captain Colin Purcell (Louisville, Ky.) eased through his No. 5 singles contest with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Dan Buikema. Sophomore Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) made it a 3-0 advantage for Diaz's Dogs as he defeated Javier Bes, 6-4, 6-1. Flores put an exclamation point on his win with a service ace to close out the second set and set up Ruiz up for the clincher.

"I think it was important for Antonio to pick up this win," said Diaz. "He had a chance to win his match on Friday but ended up losing it. I think he is starting to come around and find himself again."

With the match in hand, the Bulldogs continued to roll through the Crimson Tide as junior Ricardo Gonzalez (Aquadilla, Puerto Rico) won in straight sets, defeating Andrew Felsenthal, 6-2, 7-5 in the sixth singles position. No. 1-ranked junior John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.) then made it a 6-0 lead as he took down No. 101 Joseph Jung in the first singles slot, 6-3, 7-6 (10). Isner was behind in the tiebreaker by scores of 2-4 and 3-5, but fought back to win, 12-10.

Alabama picked up its only point as Mathieu Thibaudeau came from behind to defeat junior Matic Omerzel (6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 1-0 (10-8).

In doubles play, the Bulldogs saw ninth-ranked Isner and Ruiz get off the court first with an 8-4 victory over Jung and Thibaudeau at the No. 1 spot. Georgia clinched the doubles point with a hard-fought 8-5 win at the No. 3 slot. Gonzalez and Purcell got off to a slow start, falling behind Bes and Struyf, 4-1, before stepping up and winning the next six straight games, breaking the Tide's serve three times and taking a 7-4 lead. The Bulldog duo went on to win, 8-5. At the No. 2 spot, 61st-ranked Flores and Omerzel completed the sweep with a 9-7 win over Buikema and Felsenthal.

Georgia is back in action on Friday, March 31, as No. 20 Kentucky comes to Athens for a 5 p.m. matchup at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Bulldogs will then remain home on Sunday to host Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. Admission to all Georgia tennis matches is free.

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