Dawgs roll into NCAA Semifinals

ATHENS – The No. 1-ranked Georgia men's tennis team (30-0) defeated No. 9 seed UCLA 4-0 in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex Saturday evening. With the win, Georgia earns the right to play in the semifinals of the NCAA Tennis Championships Monday, May 21, against No. 4 seed Virginia.

The victory over UCLA was clinched by No. 1-ranked senior John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.) at the first position as he toppled No. 14 Benjamin Kohlloeffel of UCLA, 7-5, 7-6 (2).

"That was a very close match," said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. "Much closer than the score would indicate. It was a classic battle between two very good programs. We had a tremendous crowd. That was one of the best crowds we have ever had for a quarterfinal match."

Georgia won its 29th doubles point of the season to take a 1-0 lead. First to finish was the freshman tandem of Jamie Hunt (San Antonio, Texas) and Nate Schnugg (Medford, Ore.) as they took down Mathieu Dehaine and Jeremy Drean at the third position, 8-5. The 16th-ranked duo of senior Matic Omerzel (Kranj, Slovenia) and junior Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.) clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory over Haythem Abid and Chris Surapol at the second position. With the doubles point locked up in UGA's favor, the match at the first spot that paired the No. 1-ranked team of Isner and junior Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico) and the 14th-ranked duo of Phillip Gruendler and Benjamin Kohlloeffel was halted with UCLA leading, 7-6.

In singles play, No. 35-ranked Omerzel gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead with a hard-fought 6-1, 7-6 (3) win over No. 47 Chris Surapol at the fourth position. No. 104 Hunt then made it a 3-0 Bulldog advantage with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Michael Look at the sixth position, setting Isner up for the dramatic clinch.

"I knew I would have to win the match," said Isner. "Ben would not give it to me. Fortunately, my serve was good tonight, and I pulled it out. It was awesome to clinch in front of such a huge crowd. I've always dreamed of a moment like this. The crowd was great and hopefully we can keep it rolling against a very good Virginia team on Monday."

With the win, Isner is now just one singles victory from tying Al Parker as the all-time winningest singles player in Georgia history with 138 victorious efforts. His current career tally stands at 137-26. He is already the all-time winningest doubles player at UGA with a career mark of 137-24.

Georgia is now 9-1 all-time against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament, including nine straight wins. The Bulldogs will make their 17th semifinal appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia will play in the National Semifinals against No. 4-seeded Virginia Monday, May 21 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. That match is slated to begin at 12 p.m.

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