Feb. 13, 2009

Courtesy of Georgia Athletics

CHICAGO -- Third-ranked Georgia advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoors here Friday with a 4-1 win over 16th-ranked Florida State.
 
Georgia (6-0) went on top 1-0 after winning a tight doubles point that came down to a tiebreaker in the No. 3 match. Georgia’s top tandem of Nate Schnugg and Jamie Hunt routed FSU’s 23rd-ranked team of Jean-Yves Aubone and Clint Bowles 8-1 in the No. 1 contest. When they finished, Georgia was up 5-4 at No. 2 and 6-5 at No. 3 but the Seminoles rallied back.  The No. 2 team of Andrew Bailey and Maciek Sykut posted an 8-6 win over Georgia’s Christian Vitulli and Josh Varela. Then, the Bulldog duo of Javier Garrapiz and Drake Bernstein edged Chris Cloer and Vahid Mirzadeh 9-8(2) for a 1-0 advantage.
 
In singles, Georgia started fast, taking the first set in four of the six matches over the Seminoles (6-3). Schnugg, ranked 18th nationally, jumped ahead of the 30th-ranked Aubone in the No. 1 contest, 6-2. Also, Garrapiz, Varela and Vitulli took a one-set lead at No. 3, 5 and 6. The 29th-ranked Bowles claimed the first set 6-2 against the 35th-ranked Hunt in the No. 2 match while Mirzadeh went up a set against Bernstein at No. 4. Then at No. 6, Bailey managed to split sets with Vitulli and Aubone did the same against Schnugg after winning a tiebreaker.
 
Varela, the Bulldog captain and lone senior, closed out Cloer 6-4,6-1 to give Georgia a 2-0 lead. Garrapiz followed with a 6-4,6-4 victory over Sykut at No. 3 for a 3-0 Bulldog advantage. He is 17-6 on the year including 5-0 in dual matches. The Seminoles picked up a win at No. 2 as Bowles defeated Hunt to make it 3-1. At that point, Vituilli was 5-4 in the third set, Schnugg led Aubone 2-1 in the third set and Bernstein was up 3-2 in the second set. Vitulli clinched the 4-1 win for the Bulldogs with a 6-3,4-6,6-4 decision over Bailey and play was halted in the remaining matches.
 
“We fought hard at every spot and earned a victory, but we’re going to have to play better because it’s going to get tougher,” said Georgia coach Manuel Diaz. “ We played really well at No. 1 doubles and came out strong in singles as we got adjusted to the courts. Josh (Varela) played great and helped set up Christian (Vitulli) for the clinching win. Javier (Garrapiz) knows how to win, and he finds a way to put one together.”
 
Sophomore Borja Malo was scheduled to see action, but he was scratched due to a sore neck. Diaz said Malo was not 100 percent, and he decided to go with the healthy guys in Friday’s match.
 
With the latest win, the Bulldogs lead the all-time series with FSU 16-6. It was the first meeting of the teams since Georgia’s 1999 national championship season. The Bulldogs beat FSU 6-1 win that year in the second match of the season in Athens.