ATLANTA | Georgia men‚Äôs tennis rising senior Nathan Pasha suffered a 6-2, 7-5 loss to world No. 84-ranked Lukas Lacko of Slovakia in Tuesday night‚Äôs first round singles match in the main draw of the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station.
The BB&T Open is the first event in the men‚Äôs Emirates Airline US Open series. Pasha played in the main draw for the first time tonight after appearances in the qualifying the previous two summers.
After dropping the first set, Pasha took a 5-3 lead in the second with the chance to serve for it, but Lacko rallied to take the next four games, the set, and the match. Pasha took UGA teammate Austin Smith‚Äôs place in the draw after a scheduling conflict.
‚ÄúIt’s been great experience,‚Äù Pasha said in a news release. ‚ÄúI have gotten so much support from everybody. I hit as many balls as I could in the last three or four days [to prepare for the tournament on short notice]. No matter how hurt or unprepared you are, this kind of support can carry you through a match or at least helps get you to the point where you have a chance. I was grateful for it tonight.‚Äù
‚ÄúI think it was a terrific experience for Nathan,‚Äù Georgia coach Manuel Diaz said in a news release. ‚ÄúHe’s probably a little angry right now, but it’s only because he got so close to winning that second set. It was a tall task for him because he hasn’t been in full practice. He’s been getting a little rest before the year started and didn’t know about this opportunity until three days ago. He’s a very hard worker and got out there and tried to do the best he could. When you’re playing a very experienced player who is one of the top players in the world ‚Äì he knew how to capitalize. For Nathan it was a great experience.‚Äù
Pasha joined Georgia legend and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker as part of the event‚Äôs College Night on Tuesday, with Walker serving as the guest of honor and flipping the coin prior to Pasha‚Äôs match.
Pasha earned the first career All-America honors of his career in 2014 after a trip to the NCAA singles round of 16 and helping the Bulldogs to the Southeastern Conference regular season title.
Former Bulldog John Isner is also set to compete at the BB&T Open as the top seed, coming off a title at the event in 2013 with two additional finals appearances there in his career.