Jan. 20, 2014
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech found joy in pairs Monday afternoon, as two Yellow Jacket doubles teams triumphed over Georgia teams on the final day of the MLK Invitational men’s tennis tournament at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex.
Junior Eduardo Segura and freshman Carlos Benito teamed up to bulldoze their way to a 6-3 victory over Ben Wagland and Hernus Pieters, the 12th-ranked doubles team in the nation, on court one. Sophomores Casey Kay and Nathan Rakitt followed that with a nail-biting 6-5 win over Nathan Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux, not ranked as a doubles team but both ranked among the top 50 players in the nation in singles.
Wagland and Pieters were poised to capture the tournament doubles title before running into Benito and Segura, teammates dating back to their junior level experience in Madrid, Spain. The duo finished the weekend with a pair of wins in three matches.
Kay and Rakitt trailed 5-2 at one point on court two against Pasha and Brasseaux, but the Tech duo grabbed the momentum and won three straight games to take the match into a tiebreak. They out-dueled the Bulldog pair in the tiebreak, 8-6.
Georgia’s Pasha, ranked 21st nationally, would go on to defeat Carlos Benito in three sets in singles, and claim the outright tournament singles title with a record of 3-0. Benito and partner Segura tied for the doubles title at 2-1 with their upset victory, but by nature of a tiebreak the title was awarded to Joe Salisbury and David O’Hare of Memphis.
Though Tech dropped all five of its singles matches and its other doubles match against the No. 3 tennis team in the nation, head coach Kenny Thorne was proud of his players. Rakitt extended Georgia’s top player, 12th-ranked Austin Smith, to three sets at No. 1 singles, and freshman Cole Fiegel, who had not lost in the tournament, took 102nd-ranked Nick Wood to three sets.
“One of the main things to take away from these matches and this weekend is that this team is never out of it,” he said. “They’re going to fight well. We’ve got to get a little stronger towards the end of matches. Not necessarily play better, but just play longer. Some unforced errors crept in and that was the difference. We’re points away, not games. Now we’re just going to look ahead to North Florida.”
The Jackets are back in action next Saturday, Jan. 25, as they play host to North Florida at 12 noon.
MLK InvitationalJan 18-20, 2014 at Atlanta, Ga. (Ken Byers Tennis Complex)Monday Results
Singles competition #12 Austin Smith (Georgia) def. Nathan Rakitt (Georgia Tech) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 #21 Nathan Pasha (Georgia) def. Carlos Benito (Georgia Tech) 6-3, 5-6, 6-2 #48 Ben Wagland (Georgia) def. Eduardo Segura (Georgia Tech) 6-3, 6-5 #47 Garrett Brasseaux (Georgia) def. Casey Kay (Georgia Tech) 6-2, 6-4 #102 Nick Wood (Georgia) def. Cole Fiegel (Georgia Tech) 6-4, 5-6, 6-4
Doubles competition Eduardo Segura/Carlos Benito (Georgia Tech) def. #12 Ben Wagland/Hernus Pieters (Georgia) 6-3 Nathan Rakitt/Casey Kay (Georgia Tech) def. Nathan Pasha/Garrett Brasseaux (Georgia) 6-5 (8-6) Austin Smith/Nick Wood (Georgia) def. Anish Sharma/Cole Fiegel (Georgia Tech) 6-2