April 6, 2009

Courtesy of Georgia Athletics

ATHENS -- The third-ranked Georgia men’s tennis team posted a 4-2 win over 15th-ranked Alabama Sunday in front of a crowd of 523 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

The Bulldogs (18-2, 7-1 SEC) captured the doubles point and got singles wins from Jamie Hunt, Josh Varela and Drake Bernstein to extend  their home match winning streak to 59. Alabama fell to 17-5 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.
“It was a battle, Alabama is a good team, they are second in the SEC West with some big guys who play well indoors,” said Georgia coach Manuel Diaz. “They adjusted indoors a lot faster than we did although we played very good doubles outside to start the match. Josh (Varela) and Jamie (Hunt) won a couple of big singles matches for us because Alabama got the momentum with a couple of wins at the top. Drake (Bernstein) came through with the clinching victory.”

Georgia swept the doubles matches outdoors and then singles play was moved indoors due to rain. The ninth-ranked duo of Hunt and Nate Schnugg beat Mathieu Thibaudeau and Dan Buikema 8-5 in the No. 1 match. Then, the No. 3 team of Christian Vitulli and Borja Malo clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory over Ricky Doverspike and Andrew Felsenthal. With the point determined, the No. 2 match went to a tiebreaker at 7-all. Bernstein and Javier Garrapiz won it 7-4 over Saketh Myneni and Billy Mertz.

Alabama evened the match at 1-1 when 87th-ranked Thibaudeau upset 66th-ranked Garrapiz 6-3,6-2 in the No. 2 contest. It was Garrapiz’s first loss in a dual match this season and ended his career-best 16-match winning streak. Georgia regained the advantage when Hunt took care of Buikema 6-4,6-4 at No. 3 to make it 2-1. However, the Crimson Tide tied it again when 34th-ranked Myneni upset 10th-ranked Schnugg 7-5,7-5 in the No. 1 match.

At that point, Varela was up 6-4,4-3 against Michael Thompson in the No. 4 match, Bernstein led Mertz 4-2 at No. 5 and Vitulli and Jung were tied 1-1 at No. 6. Varela closed out Thompson 6-4,6-3 to put Georgia back in front 3-2.

“I did the typical Josh thing, win the first set and then get down quick in the second, but I told myself to calm down and play smarter,” said Varela who stormed back from a 3-0 deficit in the second set to win six straight games and take the match. “I was still fired up, and I didn’t want to let up.”

Bernstein clinched the team win with a 6-3,6-4 win over Mertz. Jung claimed the first set over Vitulli in a tiebreaker and the match was halted with the team outcome determined. It was the third clinching win for Bernstein this season after coming through against Florida and Furman.

“It’s always good to clinch a match because it means a lot,” said Bernstein. “I knew it was going to be a close because everybody was having tough matches.”

Georgia now hits the road for its next two SEC contests. First up, the Bulldogs will be at Vanderbilt Friday at 3 p.m. ET.

#3 Georgia 4, #15 Alabama 2


1. #9 Nate Schnugg/Jamie Hunt (UGA) def. #41 Mathieu Thibaudeau/Dan Buikema (ALA) 8-5

2. Drake Bernstein/Javier Garrapiz (UGA) def. #60 Saketh Myneni/Billy Mertz (ALA) 8-7 (7-4)

3. Christian Vitulli/Borja Malo (UGA) def. Ricky Doverspike/Andrew Felsenthal (ALA) 8-5


1. #34 Saketh Myneni (ALA) def. #10 Nate Schnugg (UGA) 7-5, 7-5

2. #87 Mathieu Thibaudeau (ALA) def. #66 Javier Garrapiz (UGA) 6-3, 6-2

3. #72 Jamie Hunt (UGA) def. Dan Buikema (ALA) 6-4, 6-4

4. Josh Varela (UGA) def. Michael Thompson (ALA) 6-4, 6-3

5. Drake Bernstein (UGA) def. Billy Mertz (ALA) 6-3, 6-4

6. Christian Vitulli (UGA) vs. Michael Jung (ALA) 6-7 (6-8), unfinished

Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,3,1,4,5)


#3 Georgia 18-2 (7-1 SEC); #15 Alabama 17-5 (5-3 SEC)

Doubles played Outdoors; Singles moved Indoors due to rain.

With doubles point determined, #2 match went to a tiebreaker at 7-all.

Official: Walt Williams T-5:12 A-523