April 10, 2011
ATLANTA – Kevin King rallied from a first-set loss to win the deciding point for Georgia Tech, and Guillermo Gomez also overcame a first-set loss to win his record 113th career singles match, leading the 18th-ranked Yellow Jackets past No. 17 North Carolina, 5-2, Sunday afternoon at the Bill Moore Tennis Center.
In a match closer than the score indicated and played in temperatures 15 degrees above normal for this date, Tech improved to 16-2 overall, 7-2 in the ACC, while the Tar Heels dropped to 11-6 overall, 6-2 in conference play. And in the final regular-season home contest for the Jackets, all three seniors in the singles lineup – Gomez, Eliot Potvin and Dean O’Brien – won their matches.
Tech won the doubles point easily, getting an 8-3 win from King and Juan Spir at No. 1 and an 8-1 decision from Gomez and O’Brien at No. 3. O’Brien would go on to defeat Taylor Meyer easily at No. 6 singles, 6-0, 6-1, and Potvin cruised past Joey Burkhardt, 6-4, 6-0, at No. 4.
“Kevin and Juan came out strong, which was important for them,” said Tech coach Kenny Thorne. “Guillermo and Dean came out even stronger. We grabbed the momentum from the beginning. Getting the doubles point was so important.”
The Jackets appeared to need each of those points in the early going after Spir retired with a groin injury at No. 2 and Magin Ortiga lost a 6-3, 6-1 decision at No. 5. With the match tied 2-2, Potvin’s win gave Tech a lead, but Gomez and King each were down a set at first and third singles.
“North Carolina had lost the doubles point at Clemson, so we knew we still had a battle ahead of us,” said Thorne. “To get down a set in four of our six matches made it tough. Fortunately, Dean and Eliot won their matches quickly. On the scoreboard we were ahead, but it seemed like we were behind and it was never comfortable. We have great battles with North Carolina every year.”
King fell behind with a 7-5 loss in the first set to Stefan Hardy, but battled back to tie the match with a 9-7 win in the second-set tiebreaker. He went on to win the third set easily, 6-2, giving the Yellow Jackets the match and a 4-2 lead.
“Kevin did a great job hanging in there and winning his match. And he should take a lot of confidence from that, because Hardy is a great player,” said Thorne.
Gomez, the nation’s 16th-ranked player, lost his first set to 38th-ranked Jose Herndandez in a tiebreaker, then rallied for a 6-3 win in the second set. In the third set, Gomez and Hernandez broke each other’s serve once, battling to a 6-6 tie. They went back and forth in the tiebreaker before Gomez prevailed, 12-10.
With his two wins this weekend, both over ranked players, Gomez now has 113 career singles wins, one more than Thorne accumulated from 1985-88.
“I felt like he would get it at the beginning of the season, because he’s that good,” said Thorne. “But for him, it was all about the team. For him to get the record on Senior Day against such a great player, and battle back from a loss in the first set, is so well-deserved. He’s done it at the toughest position throughout his career. He’s played against the best players in the nation from his freshman year. I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Tech returns to action next weekend, completing the regular season with road matches against top-ranked Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Tennis Match Results
North Carolina vs Georgia Tech
Apr 10, 2011 at Atlanta, Ga.
#18 Georgia Tech 5, #17 North Carolina 2
1. #16 Guillermo Gomez (GT) def. #38 Jose Hernandez (NC) 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-6 (12-10)
2. Brennan Boyajian (NC) def. #67 Juan Spir (GT) 6-3, 2-0, retired
3. Kevin King (GT) def. Stefan Hardy (NC) 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2
4. Eliot Potvin (GT) def. Joey Burkhardt (NC) 6-4, 6-0
5. William Parker (NC) def. Magin Ortiga (GT) 6-3, 6-1
6. Dean O’Brien (GT) def. Taylor Meyer (NC) 6-0, 6-1
1. #14 Juan Spir/Kevin King (GT) def. #21 Jose Hernandez/Brennan Boyajian (NC) 8-3
2. #59 Stefan Hardy/Joey Burkhardt (NC) def. Eliot Potvin/Ryan Smith (GT) 8-6
3. Guillermo Gomez/Dean O’Brien (GT) def. Cameron Ahari/William Parker (NC) 8-1
North Carolina 11-6, 6-2 ACC; National ranking #17
Georgia Tech 16-3, 7-2 ACC; National ranking #18
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,6,5,4,3,1)