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Georgia Athletics | March 7, 2014

No. 16 Georgia holds off Mississippi State in conference home opener

Nathan Pasha

ATHENS, Ga. -- No. 16 Georgia beat No. 17 Mississippi State 4-1 on Friday in the Bulldogs' SEC home opener at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

Georgia (6-5, 2-0 SEC) lost a tightly contested doubles point, but the Bulldogs responded with four consecutive wins in singles to run their home winning streak to 19 matches.

"Mississippi State played great doubles, and honestly we were not that sharp," Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz said. "But our guys did a tremendous job of coming back in singles and generated a lot of momentum for ourselves. We won all six first sets, and that was impressive.

"Our main focus after doubles was to get the guys to put it behind them. They were angry and upset because they know they can play better. They showed some resolve and mental toughness and did a great job in singles."

In doubles, Mississippi State (12-5, 2-1 SEC) won matches at Nos. 1 and 2 to go ahead 1-0. At No. 1, Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp defeated 14th-ranked Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland 8-3, then Georgia retaliated at No. 3 as Eric Diaz and Austin Smith beat Rushab Agarwal and Zach White 8-6. In a back-and-forth match at No. 2, MSU's Florian Lakat and Tassilo Schmid edged Garrett Brasseaux and Nathan Pasha 8-7(4).

Georgia quickly won the first set on all six singes courts, and No. 76 Brasseaux knotted the match at 1-1 with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Angus at No. 4. No. 16 Smith gave UGA its first lead of the day with a 6-3, 7-5 victory against 63rd-ranked Lakat at No. 2, then Pieters made it 3-1 Georgia with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Robin Haden at No. 6.

The match clincher came at No. 3 where 66th-ranked Wagland downed White 7-5, 7-6(4). A sophomore from Sydney, Australia, he has now clinched two matches this season for Georgia, and it was the first time the Bulldogs have won a match this season after losing the doubles point.

Smith won his team-leading 24th match of the season, while Pieters notched his 20th victory, including his sixth in a row.

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