Georgia opens SEC play with victory
Bulldogs start fast by sweeping doubles, improve to 10-1 on year
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Sixth-ranked Georgia opened its SEC schedule with a 6-1 win against No. 22 South Carolina on Friday afternoon at the new Carolina Tennis Center.
The Bulldogs improved to 10-1, dropped their divisional rival to 10-2 and moved to 33-6 in the all-time series.
Georgia swept the doubles point for the fourth time this season and second in a row to go up 1-0. The first win came as Ignacio Taboada and Hernus Pieters defeated Nick Jones and Kyle Koch 8-3. That was followed by an 8-3 win for Wil Spencer and KU Singh, as they defeated Andrew Adams and Thiago Pinheiro.
Georgia completed the sweep as the team of Sadio Doumbia and Nathan Pasha beat Chip Cox and Ivan Machado 8-5.
That sent the Bulldogs into singles play with the lead, and Pasha wasted no time giving Georgia its second point as the freshman won 12 consecutive games to down Eguez 6-0, 6-0 for his 20th win. He is 9-0 in dual match play.
The Bulldogs were in good shape elsewhere, winners of three of the remaining five first sets.
Pasha was followed by Taboada’s 6-3, 6-3 win against Koch to give Georgia the 3-0 lead and in need of just one more for the clinch. It would come soon after, from Doumbia, on court No. 2, as the senior recorded a 6-3, 6-1 win against Machado to seal it for the Bulldogs for his team-leading 25th win of the season.
On court three, Singh bounced back from a 6-4 first-set loss to defeat Cox 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and give Georgia a 5-0 lead with just Spencer and Pieters still on court. The win brought Singh to 10-0 in dual match play since joining the team in January.
South Carolina grabbed its first point as Pinheiro defeated Pieters 6-4, 6-4 at the five spot to make it 5-1, but Spencer added to the Georgia tally as he finished out his match 7-5, 7-5 against Adams at No. 1 to round it out at 6-1. Spencer is now five wins shy of 100.
“We played a good match,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “South Carolina has a group of fighters and they played us hard. I am proud of our guys, we played well in doubles and kept it going in singles.”
“It was good to see Wil finish out our match with a win. He’s getting back to top form. He had a strong lead there in the second set and let it slip away with a couple of breaks, but he really showed a lot of character and found a way to win. I am proud of him for that. Hernus lost a tough one [Friday]. His opponent was playing extremely well and he’ll bounce back.
"Nathan Pasha continues to play so well, as did Ignacio and Sadio," Diaz added, "and KU had an opponent just play a red-hot first set, but didn’t let it bother him, which is encouraging.”