STARKVILLE, Miss. — Fourth-ranked Georgia cruised past No. 17 Auburn by a 4-0 score on Friday afternoon to stake a place in the semifinals of the 2012 SEC Championships at Mississippi State’s A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
Georgia and Auburn squared off in the first quarterfinal match of the tournament after UGA enjoyed a first round bye and the Tigers downed South Carolina in Thursday’s first round match. The Bulldogs used the victory to improve to 21-2 on the season and drop AU to 17-9.
“I thought things went great,” UGA head coach Manuel Diaz said. “We played good doubles, and singles was really competitive at every spot, which we expected. Auburn is a very good team, they’re No. 17 in the country. They competed hard and gave us a good match. I thought we played the bigger points. There are no easy matches in the SEC and I am proud of the way we played.”
Georgia raced out to an early lead by snagging the doubles point, as the Bulldogs got wins at Nos. 2 and 3. KU Singh and Wil Spencer posted an 8-3 win against Daniel Cochrane and Lukas Ollert at No. 3, before Nathan Pasha and Ignacio Taboada clinched the point for the Bulldogs by topping Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso 8-5 at No. 2.
The match at No. 1 doubles between Georgia’s Hernus Pieters and Sadio Doumbia and Auburn’s 14th-ranked pair of Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies went unfinished with the Tigers leading 6-3.
With the 1-0 lead headed to singles, the Bulldogs were pushed along by Pieters, who rolled to a dominating 6-0, 6-1 win against Ollert at No. 6 to take a 2-0 lead in the team match. It was Pieters’ eighth win in a row as he improved to 31-10 on the season.
Georgia then went up 3-0 as Taboada downed Lengsfeld, 6-4, 7-6(0) at court No. 4, moving to 31-9 on the season and 20-3 in dual matches. Pasha, the four-time SEC Freshman of the Week, then provided the clinching point at No. 5 — his fifth of the season — as he defeated Lopasso 7-6(5), 6-4 to complete the 4-0 shutout and claim his team-best 10th win in a row to move to 30-7 on the year and 19-1 in dual matches.
The top three courts were suspended after the Bulldogs posted the victory, with Doumbia two games away from a win of his own. Both Spencer and Singh were down sets but on serve in the second.