April 9, 2010
ATLANTA – Riding an eight-match winning streak, Georgia Tech’s 24th-ranked men’s tennis team faces a pair of important Atlantic Coast Conference matches on the road this weekend at No. 20 Duke Saturday and No. 19 North Carolina Sunday. Both matches begin at 1 p.m.
Tech takes a 15-3 overall record and a 6-1 conference mark to Tobacco Road this weekend, the best marks for the program in six seasons. The Yellow Jackets hold second place alone in the ACC standings, one game behind top-ranked Virginia.
Duke, which has won the last seven matches in the series with Tech, is 12-6 overall and 5-1 in the ACC following a 4-3 victory against Wake Forest Wednesday. The Blue Devils’ only loss in conference play was a 4-3 decision to the Cavaliers. North Carolina enters the weekend 14-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play. Tech defeated the Tar Heels at home, 7-0, last spring.
“We have our toughest combination of away matches this weekend in Duke and UNC,” said head coach Kenny Thorne. “Our players know coming into Georgia Tech that we have a very tough schedule and they embrace it. We always have to play to win and that keeps us sharp. Our team has matured over this season and we will be ready to put everything we have into both matches.”
Among Tech’s eight consecutive wins were matches against five teams ranked among the nation’s top 50 teams, including road wins at Wake Forest and NC State two weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets are 9-3 against ranked teams during the spring dual season.
“We have been playing good fundamental tennis each and every time out,” Thorne added. “We haven’t played well each match, but that is not the goal. We want to get better as the season progresses and that doesn’t mean just striking the ball better. We want to be mentally better each match.”
The Yellow Jackets have been led by All-American Guillermo Gomez, the nation’s No. 4-ranked player who is 23-5 in singles this year, and Kevin King (10-0 in singles), who is ranked No. 62. They play the top two singles positions.
Gomez, a junior from Alicante, Spain, is 5-1 in ACC matches at the top position, and 10-4 against ranked opponents this year. King, a sophomore from Peachtree City, Ga., is 7-0 in conference matches, five of those at No. 2 and one at No. 1.
Thorne has gotten excellent play from junior Eliot Potvin (13-5 dual match record) of Hampden, Maine, and freshman Magin Ortiga (11-5) of Cartagina, Colombia, both of whom have played in every conference match and are 4-3. Miguel Muguruza (9-3 in dual matches), a junior from Wesley Chapel, Fla. and freshman Juan Spir (8-6) of Medellin, Colombia, are both 4-1 in conference play.
Tech has also solidified its doubles play since pairing King and Spir, who have won seven of eight matches, and Potvin and Ryan Smith, who are 5-0. The Jackets have won all three doubles matches in their last three outings and won the doubles point in five straight matches.