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#STINGDAILY: Slow Getting Started

March 22, 2013

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

– In what has been a jumbled season, Kenny Thorne has not had a choice other than to wait for his players to get healthy. The Georgia Tech men’s tennis team was a little healthier Friday against Wake Forest, but the Yellow Jackets waited to get going.

The No. 28 Demon Deacons won 6-1 at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex, a final score that did not jive with No. 74 Tech’s recent 4-3 losses to Miami and Florida State. The Jackets were more competitive in those contests.

Friday, they took too long to engage on a chilly afternoon.

After losing the doubles point, Tech dropped the first set on five of six courts. On the other, Juan Melian was fighting like mad at No. 1 singles before prevailing in a tiebreaker.

For the most part, the Jackets played better in their second sets but it was too late. Tech trailed 3-0 before Melian beat Wake’s David Hopkins 7-6, 6-2. It was the Spaniard’s eighth win in his last 10 matches.

“I felt like we came out and we were just kind of looking around at the beginning [of singles],” Thorne said. “There wasn’t enough energy. We gave away too many errors.”

Sophomore Vikram Hundal remains sidelined with a knee injury, which has significantly juggled the Jackets’ doubles lineup and impacted singles as well.

Freshman Garrett Gordon returned to the lineup after a lengthy bout of mononucleosis, and fell 7-5, 7-6 to Wake’s Sam Bloom at No. 6 singles.

“I was proud of Garrett, playing for the first time since coming off mono. He played a solid match,” Thorne said. “He had set point in each match, and so he was two points away from winning the match.”

With a Sunday home match against N.C. State pending, Thorne, however, was a bit perplexed by the overall uneven showing on Friday.

Recruiting is going great, and he’s quick to explain that prospects seem to be paying a lot more attention to his pitches upon visiting the new Byers Complex.

The future won’t arrive for a while, though, and the coach is more concerned with the present. The injury issues won’t work as an excuse.

“All teams have injuries all the time. It’s easy for me as a coach to look at it and go, ‘OK. Keep going,’ ” Thorne said. “For some guys it might create a little pressure to win, but to me you’re supposed to win anyway. That’s your job. I think it might even help you focus.

“It keeps you sharp … but tennis comes down to winners and unforced errors, and if you’re starting out a match and I felt like our unforced errors probably tripled our winners in the beginning. That’s partly focus, partly wrong targets, partly trying to get used to another player and worrying about him instead of what you’re doing.”

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