Feb. 8, 2013
THE FLATS – A partisan and standing-room-only crowd inside the Ken Byers Tennis Complex watched sixth-ranked Georgia rally for a 5-2 men’s tennis victory over host Georgia Tech late Friday afternoon.
Georgia Tech (2-4) was hoping for a repeat of its 2011 upset of the Bulldogs, the last time the two teams squared off in Atlanta. Georgia (4-1), however, held off a gutsy effort from the upstart Yellow Jackets, who suffered their fourth consecutive loss and played at home for the first time since Jan. 18.
Georgia Tech jumped out to an early lead by winning the doubles point – something the Yellow Jackets have done in four of six matches this spring.
“We came out in doubles and played about as well as we could play,” Georgia Tech head coach Kenny Thorne said. “I liked our attitude, I like our energy, I liked our shot selection in doubles.”
Tech’s third-ranked doubles team of Juan Spir and Vikram Hudal improved to 8-0 this spring and 16-1 for the year with an 8-4 win over Georgia’s fifth-ranked Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland, just the second loss this spring by the Bulldog duo. Spir/Hudal clinched the doubles point after Tech’s Juan Melian and Nathan Rakitt topped UGA’s Nathan Pasha and Marco Nunez, 8-5. Tech’s No. 3 doubles team of Eduardo Segura and Colin Edwards were leading at match point over Eric Diaz and Garrett Brasseaux when the doubles point was clinched.
Once singles play began, however, the Bulldogs took control.
Georgia’s Wagland knotted the team score, 1-1, with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Hundal. Brasseaux won at No. 6 singles over Tech’s Anish Sharma by an identical 6-1, 6-1 score. At No. 4 singles, Rakitt, a freshman from Marietta (Ga.), suffered his first loss of the spring, dropping to 4-1, with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Nick Wood.
UGA’s Pasha, at No. 1 singles, sealed the Bulldogs victory, 6-2, 6-3 over Melian, who had missed two of the previous three matches with an injury.
Moments later, Spir topped 16th-ranked Pieters for Tech’s lone singles victory, capping off an outstanding day for the Yellow Jacket senior, who also won at No. 1 doubles.
Georgia’s Austin Smith capped off the day with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Tech’s Segura for the final 5-2 margin.
“They are a very good team. In singles, they did exactly to us what we had done to them in doubles,” Thorne said. “They got on top of us. We had some tough match-ups and we couldn’t hang in there early. We got behind, and besides Juan, we just felt like we were playing catch-up all day.”
An overflow crowd helped create an electric atmosphere, which is usually the case when Georgia Tech and Georgia meet.
“That was a great atmosphere,” Thorne said. “There is nothing like the atmosphere when we play Georgia, whether it’s here or in Athens, but it’s the first time we got to experience it in the Byers Tennis Complex. With the crowd right on top of the courts, it’s just a neat atmosphere for college tennis.”
The Yellow Jackets are off until hosting both North Florida (noon) and Mercer (6 p.m.) on Feb. 16. Georgia will participate in the ITA National Indoor Team Championships Feb. 15-18 in Seattle.
(1) #3 Juan Spir/Vikram Hundal (GT) def. #5 Hernus Pieters/Ben Wagland (UGA), 8-4
(2) Juan Melian/Nathan Rakitt (GT) def. Nathan Pasha/Marco Nunez (UGA), 8-5
(3) Eduardo Segura/Colin Edwards (GT) vs. Eric Diaz/Garrett Brasseaux (UGA), match suspended
(1) #19 Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Juan Melian (GT), 6-2, 6-3
(2) #32 Juan Spir (GT) def. #16 Hernus Pieters (UGA), 6-3, 5-4 (retired)
(3) Ben Wagland (UGA) def. Vikram Hundal (GT), 6-1, 6-1
(4) Nick Wood (UGA) def. Nathan Rakitt (GT), 6-3, 6-2
(5) Austin Smith (UGA) def. Eduardo Segura (GT), 6-2, 6-3
(6) Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) def. Anish Sharma (GT), 6-1, 6-1