Georgia Tennis plays for National Title

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The No. 1-Seeded University of Georgia men's tennis team defeated fifth-seeded Baylor by a 4-3 score Monday night in Palo Alto to punch its ticket to the NCAA Championship match. After going down 1-0 following the doubles point, Georgia fought back, winning four singles matches.

The match-clinching win came off the racquet of junior Matic Omerzel as he battled through a three-set match to beat William Ward, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 in a match that took nearly two hours to complete. With neither player able to break the other through the first two full sets, Omerzel finally earned a service break to go up 2-1 in the third set. From there he held serve to finish off the victory.

"I just tried to relax and play the same way I was before," said Omerzel. "I was trying not to push but I did want to put pressure on him at the same time. I was enjoying every second out there. At National Indoors it always came down to court 4, I was thinking it would come down to me at No. 4, so I was ready for it. I had it in my mind and I was ready."

"This was one of the greatest performances from our team not only this year but ever," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "The fact that we got down a point after doubles was big. You cannot just come out and get down to a team like Baylor. And then not having Strahinja Bobusic in the lineup (wrist) made it even more of a mountain to climb, but that, more than anything, just makes the win more rewarding."

After losing the doubles point for just the third time all season, the Bulldogs evened up the match at 1-1 as sophomore Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) defeated Matija Zgaga at the second singles spot, 6-4, 6-2. Georgia made it 2-1 as junior John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.) defeated Lars Poerschke at the top singles spot, 6-4, 6-3, extending his personal winning streak to 26 games and his record on the year to 43-2.

Baylor then tied the match at 2-2 when Vladimir Portnov beat junior Ricardo Gonzalez (Aquadilla, Puerto Rico). Georgia then jumped right back to a 3-2 lead as senior captain Colin Purcell (Louisville, Ky.) defeated Matt Brown in the fifth spot, 6-4, 6-2. Baylor then evened the match up once again as Michal Kokta took down Georgia's senior captain Antonio Ruiz (Monterrey, Mexico), 7-5, 6-2 at the third position.

In doubles play, Baylor was victorious at the first and third doubles positions. Poerschke and Kokta topped Isner and Ruiz, 8-6, while David Galic and William Ward defeated Gonzalez and Purcell, 8-6.

Georgia will face No. 2-seeded Pepperdine in the championships match Tuesday at 6:30 PST.


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