Georgia Tennis Advances to finals of SECs

TUSCALOOSA – The No. 1-ranked University of Georgia men's tennis team rolled past Mississippi State Saturday afternoon by a score of 4-0 in Tuscaloosa to punch its ticket to the finals. The Bulldogs got the match-clinching win off the racquet of senior captain Colin Purcell as he won his 16th straight match, a 6-2, 6-3 decision over Florent Girod at the fifth singles position.

"I have mixed feelings about the win today," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "I am very proud of our guys, they competed phenomenally well in singles. But, I am concerned with the way we played doubles. We really got away with one today and we probably should have lost it. If we had lost the point, it would have put a lot of pressure on us. We need to do better tomorrow. We need to be more motivated and we need to come out ready to play our best right from the start. I am proud of the guys for coming through in the end though, our No. 3 doubles team did a great job and then our No. 1 team bailed us out at the end."

Mississippi State came out of the gate fired up and gave Georgia one of its toughest tests in doubles play all season. The third doubles team of senior co-captains Strahinja Bobusic (Perth, Australia) Purcell, ranked No. 16 nationally, eased through their match, downing Josh Irey and Ryan Farlow, 8-1. MSU tied it up with a win at second doubles however as Pierre Mouillon and Phillipe Frayssinoux took down the 39th-ranked duo of sophomore Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) and junior Matic Omerzel (Kranj, Slovenia), 9-7, leaving the doubles point hanging on the outcome of the first doubles match. In a dramatic nail-biter, Georgia's fifth-ranked tandem of junior John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.) and senior captain Antonio Ruiz (Monterrey, Mexico) battled back from behind, getting their first lead at 6-5. The Bulldog team went on to defeat MSU's Jose-Carlos Pinto and Ivan Bjelica in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (8-6), to claim the point for Georgia.

Georgia stepped up its efforts in singles play, putting on a dominant performance. Diaz's Dogs made it a 2-0 lead with a victory by Flores at the second singles spot as he picked up a 6-1, 6-3 win over Mouillon. Second-ranked Isner then extended the advantage to 3-0 as he downed Bjelica at the first singles spot, 6-2, 6-1, setting Purcell up for the clincher. The win was Isner's 22nd in a row. The remaining singles matches were halted as soon as Georgia clinched the match.

The Bulldogs will face third-seeded Ole Miss in the finals at 3 p.m. Sunday. In their previous meeting in the regular season, Georgia defeated the Rebels by a score of 4-3 in Oxford, Miss. Georgia and Ole Miss clashed last season in post season play as they faced off in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament in College Station, Texas, in a match that saw the Rebels take a 4-2 victory.


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