Manuel Diaz reaches win milestone with victory over Mississippi St

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The No. 7 Georgia men’s tennis team picked up a 4-1 win on the road at No. 11 Mississippi State on Sunday at the AJ Pitts Tennis Centre.

With the win Bulldog head coach Manuel Diaz moved into sole possession of second place on the SEC wins list behind only Georgia legend Dan Magill.

Due to the threat of inclement weather in the area, the teams played singles first to be followed by doubles if necessary, but Georgia snagged the necessary four victories to seal the win.

“I’m always apprehensive about changing things up, but with the weather coming in it was a smart decision,” Diaz said. “My concern was trying to get the guys in the right mindset for singles when they’re used to playing doubles first, but they came out ready and we played a great match. Mississippi State is a very good team and they’re tough to beat at home. They’re well-coached and very competitive, but I am very proud of our guys for fighting the way they did.”

Georgia (10-4, 2-1 SEC) and MSU split first sets in singles and Georgia took a 1-0 lead when State’s 23rd-ranked Romain Bogaerts retired due to injury trailing 11th-ranked KU Singh 6-2, 4-0 at No 1. The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead when freshman Austin Smith downed Zach White 7-5, 6-4 at No. 4, and it increased to 3-0 when No. 42 Nathan Pasha defeated Jordan Angus 7-5, 6-2 at No. 3. It was the team-leading 21st win of the season for the Georgia sophomore.

Mississippi State got on the board at No. 6 with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win for Pedro Dumont over Garrett Brasseaux to make it 3-1, but Georgia answered with a match-clinching 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win for No. 72 Hernus Pieters over Stefan Vinti at No. 5. With the score 4-1, the match at No. 2 between No. 95 Ben Wagland and No. 59 Malte Stropp was suspended with Stropp leading 7-6(3), 5-2, and the teams did not play doubles.

The victory gave Diaz a total of 569 wins for his career as an SEC head coach, passing former Kentucky coach Dennis Emery for second place. Diaz now trails only Dan Magill, who won 706 matches at UGA in 34 seasons between 1955-88.

“I don’t give it much thought — it’s nice for me to have my name next to Coach Magill’s,” Diaz said. “It’s not something I think much about, but I do appreciate the fact that I’ll be there with him in the record book.”

The Bulldogs host Florida and South Carolina on March 15 and 17, respectively.

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