Pieters

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Sixth-ranked Georgia capped an impressive weekend by knocking off fourth-ranked Kentucky 4-2 on Sunday at the Boone Tennis Complex.

The Bulldogs (14-4, 6-1 SEC) entered the weekend tied with Vanderbilt and Kentucky atop the SEC Eastern Division, and notched road wins against both teams to gain sole possession of first place in the overall league standings.

“It was a really good win by our guys [on Sunday],” UGA coach Manuel Diaz said. “We played a very good doubles point. I think we got back to doing a few things we had gotten away from. Our two and three teams got back on track and played well. It was great to see us have the belief and willingness to fight it out.”

With the win, Georgia also avenged an earlier loss to Kentucky in the ITA National Indoor Tournament in February.

The Bulldogs won the doubles point for the early 1-0 lead. The fifth-ranked team of Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland defeated No. 23 Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai 8-6. The No. 39 team of Garrett Brasseaux and Nathan Pasha clinched the point at No. 2 with an 8-6 win against Ryuji Hirooka and Alejandro Gomez 8-6. The match at No. 3 was abandoned with the score tied at six.

Georgia started off singles competition with a win at No. 3 as 39th-ranked Pasha cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win against Gomez. Kentucky responded at No. 1 where 31st-ranked Rossi beat No. 7 KU Singh 6-3, 6-3, then Georgia answered back at No. 5 as Pieters rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Lai.

The Wildcats (16-6, 4-3 SEC) cut the Georgia lead to 3-2 after Wagland was outlasted by Tom Jomby in three sets 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2. That set the stage for freshman Austin Smith to clinch his second match of the weekend. He prevailed in a three-set battle with Grant Roberts at No. 4, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3. Smith broke Roberts’ serve to take a 5-3 lead in the third set, then went on to clinch his fourth match of the season.

“We just had to play our game,” Smith said. “I think winning doubles [on Friday] was huge for us, then we got it going in singles. We knew we were capable of beating them and we were able to come out on top.”

The match at No. 6 between Garrett Brasseaux and Beck Pennington was halted in a first-set tiebreaker.