Tennis Advances to SEC Tournament Semifinals

TUSCALOOSA – The No. 1-ranked University of Georgia men's tennis team (23-0, 11-0) defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 4-0 Friday night in quarterfinal action at the SEC Men's Tennis Tournament in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Sophomore Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) got the match-clincher off with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Javier Bes at the second singles position. The win marked Flores' 11th consecutive victory and the eighth time he has clinched a match for the Bulldogs.

After beginning the match at 2 p.m. CST, play was halted midway through the doubles matches due to lightning and rain. Forced to move indoors, the Bulldogs were not able to resume play until approximately 8:20 p.m. CST.

"I think the guys handled the adversity of the weather very well," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "Our No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams came out a little bit off earlier today but when we came indoors and saw that Alabama had a pretty good crowd, they realized they had to play their best. All three doubles teams came out fired up and that carried over to singles as well. Once again our top two guys really set the tempo in singles. John (Isner) did a great job and so did Matic (Omerzel) as he avenged a loss from earlier this season. We really played a complete match today."

Georgia began the match by winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead for the 21st time this season. No. 5-ranked junior John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.) and Antonio Ruiz (Monterrey, Mexico) were first off the court with an 8-3 victory over Javier Bes and Billy Mertz at the first doubles position. The 39th-ranked team of Flores and Matic Omerzel (Kranj, Slovenia) clinched the doubles point with a 9-7 win over Dan Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau, coming back from a 7-6 deficit at the second spot. The third doubles match was halted when Georgia locked up the point.

In singles play, 65th-ranked Omerzel made it a 2-0 Georgia lead with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Thibaudeau, in a match that took just under 55 minutes to finish. Just seconds later, No. 2-ranked Isner extended the advantage to 3-0 as he eased past Jung, 6-1, 6-2, setting up Ruiz for the match-clincher. The win was Isner's 21st consecutive victory. The remaining singles matches were halted when Georgia clinched the win.

Georgia will be back in action Saturday, April 22 at 2 p.m. CST as the Bulldogs take on 12th-seeded Mississippi State in the semifinals. Mississippi State upset fifth-seeded LSU in the first round on Thursday, 4-2, then upset fourth-seeded Kentucky in the quarterfinals Friday afternoon.

In the regular-season meeting between Georgia and Mississippi State saw UGA post a 4-0 sweep in Starkville, Miss.


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