STARKVILLE, Miss. - The second-seeded Georgia men’s tennis team cruised past the No. 7 seed Auburn by a 4-0 score Friday afternoon to stake a place in the semifinals of the 2012 SEC Championships at Mississippi State University’s A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre in Starkville.
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 today,” said head coach Manuel Diaz. “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 today. There are no easy matches in the SEC and I am proud of the way we played today.”
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 over the team of Daniel Cochrane and Lukas Ollert at three, before Nathan Pasha and Ignacio Taboada clinched going 8-5 over Dennis Lengsfeld and Lucas Lopasso at No. 2. That duo remains unbeaten on the 2011-12 season with a record of 8-0.
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 there.
With the 1-0 lead headed to singles, the Bulldogs were pushed along by the sophomore Pieters, who rolled to a dominating 6-0, 6-1 win over 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 44th-ranked 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. The freshman Pasha, the four-time SEC Freshman of the Week, then provided the clinch 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.
Georgia is aiming for its 34th SEC title overall and eighth by way of the tournament. Georgia last won the conference tournament in 2007. Next up, the Bulldogs will take on the winner of the Mississippi State-Tennessee quarterfinal tomorrow at noon ET. Live scoring and the live chat will be available on Georgiadogs.com.
#4 Georgia 4, #17 Auburn 0
1. #11 Wil Spencer (UGA) vs. #18 Andreas Mies (AU) 6-7 (3-7), 3-4, unfinished
2. #24 KU Singh (UGA) vs. #66 Alex Stamchev (AU) 5-7, 6-5, unfinished
3. #29 Sadio Doumbia (UGA) vs. Daniel Cochrane (AU) 7-5, 4-3, unfinished
4. #44 Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Dennis Lengsfeld (AU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-0)
5. Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Lucas Lopasso (AU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
6. #63 Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Lukas Ollert (AU) 6-0, 6-1
1. Hernus Pieters/Sadio Doumbia (UGA) vs. #14 Alex Stamchev/Andreas Mies (AU) 3-6, unfinished
2. Nathan Pasha/Ignacio Taboada (UGA) def. Dennis Lengsfeld/Lucas Lopasso (AU) 8-5
3. KU Singh/Wil Spencer (UGA) def. Daniel Cochrane/Lukas Ollert (AU) 8-3
Auburn 17-9; National ranking #17
Georgia 21-2; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (6,4,5)