UGA men’s tennis team edged by Kentucky

SEATTLE — The No. 6 Georgia men’s tennis team suffered a 4-2 loss to No. 7 Kentucky on Sunday in the quarterfinal consolation round on the Bulldogs’ final day at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships at the Nordstrom Tennis Center.

The Bulldogs (5-3) won the doubles point before the teams split first sets in singles, three each. After Georgia took a 2-0 lead in the match, Kentucky won three straight singles to go up 3-2 before claiming the clinching point with a third-set tiebreaker at No. 5.

“Our guys are disappointed in the outcome the last couple days, because they’ve put themselves in a position to win,” Georgia coach Manuel Diaz said in a news release. “We’ve put ourselves in a position to play with the very best. We’re here without our senior [KU Singh] and we have two juniors and one sophomore. Our freshmen are showing tremendous potential. Our more veteran players — Hernus Pieters and Nathan Pasha — are just showing tremendous leadership. This group will be a great team down the road.”

Georgia’s doubles again played well, and the Bulldogs claimed the early point for the third time this tournament with wins at Nos. 2 and 3. First off was the team of Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux, who teamed up to defeat Kentucky’s Alejandro Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka, 8-4. They were followed by Austin Smith and Nick Wood, who posted an 8-5 decision over Grant Roberts and Anthony Rossi at No. 3 to seal the point. The match at No. 1 was suspended with Georgia’s fifth-ranked team of Pieters and Ben Wagland leading Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai, 7-6.

Georgia and Kentucky then split first sets in singles at three apiece, and Pieters gave Georgia a 2-0 lead as he cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Gomez at No. 3. That’s when Kentucky rallied, winning three singles matches in a row, including a 6-2, 6-3 win for Lai over Brasseaux at No. 6, a 6-4, 6-4 win for Jomby over Wagland at No. 2, and a 6-4, 7-6(7) tiebreak battle for Rossi over Pasha at No. 1.

That left Nos. 4 and 5 on court, where the Bulldogs had won both first sets but found themselves in the third on each. At No. 4, the rookie Wood — recovering from a stomach bug that caused him to miss yesterday’s quarterfinal match against UCLA — trailed Charles Minc before breaking back to serve at 4-5. But before he could complete the comeback, it was Roberts who pulled out a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(2), tiebreak triumph over Smith at the five spot, sealing the 4-2 win for the Wildcats.

The Bulldogs finish their weekend at 1-2, following Friday’s commanding 4-0 win over Ole Miss and yesterday’s 4-1 setback to UCLA played without Wood.

Georgia hosts Furman on Sunday and East Tennessee State on Monday to start the outdoor season.

#7 Kentucky 4, #6 Georgia 2

Singles competition

1. #90 Anthony Rossi (UK) def. #21 Nathan Pasha (UG) 6-4, 7-6 (9-7)

2. #29 Tom Jomby (UK) def. #92 Ben Wagland (UG) 6-4, 6-4

3. #41 Hernus Pieters (UG) def. Alejandro Gomez (UK) 6-1, 6-2

4. Nick Wood (UG) vs. Charles Minc (UK) 6-4, 1-6, 4-5, unfinished

5. Grant Roberts (UK) def. Austin Smith (UG) 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2)

6. Kevin Lai (UK) def. Garrett Brasseaux (UG) 6-2, 6-3

Doubles competition

1. #5 Hernus Pieters/Ben Wagland (UG) vs. Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) 7-6, unfinished

2. Nathan Pasha/Garrett Brasseaux (UG) def. Alejandro Gomez/Ryuji Hirooka (UK) 8-4

3. Austin Smith/Nick Wood (UG) def. Grant Roberts/Anthony Rossi (UK) 8-5

Match Notes:

Kentucky 10-2; National ranking #7

Georgia 5-3; National ranking #6

Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (3,6,2,1,5)

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