Georgia Returns Home for Ohio State Matchup
SOURCE: UGA ATHLETICS
The last meeting between Ohio State and Georgia came in a string of five-straight losses for the Bulldog squad, before the young team turned it around and dropped only two contests in the remaining regular season play on the way to a 22-8 final record. In the NCAA Tournament, Georgia’s then freshman-sophomore duo of Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski outed Ohio State’s pair of Hugo Di Feo and Martin Joyce to advance to the Round of 16 in the Doubles Championships. The Bulldog duo used a 10-point tiebreaker to secure a 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-1) victory.
The Buckeyes return the second-ranked Mikael Torpegaard, the 22nd-ranked JJ Wolf, the 77th-ranked Martin Joyce and Kyle Seelig in their top-six singles from the year before. Georgia marks the eighth ranked team to face off with the second-ranked Buckeyes in nine matches. Ohio State’s schedule includes wins against No. 6 South Carolina, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 10 Duke, No. 18 Florida, No. 20 Texas and No. 21 Notre Dame.
After notching a win in the home opener against Mercer last week, Georgia hit the road to open SEC play against Florida and South Carolina. Trailing 3-1 in Gainesville, the Bulldogs forced deciding sets in the definitive three matches before the Gators sealed a 5-2 final on Friday. In South Carolina, after dropping the doubles point, a trio of consecutive Georgia singles wins were matched by three Gamecock singles victories, handing South Carolina the 4-3 edge on Sunday afternoon.
In the latest Oracle/ITA Rankings on March 6, the junior/senior duo of Walker Duncan and Wayne Montgomery were ranked No. 25 for the first time. The tandem has led the Bulldogs in dual play doubles this season, totaling a 6-2 clip with a pair of wins over ranked opponents, including Florida’s then-ninth-ranked team of McClain Kessler and Duarte Vale. Overall, the two claim a 14-6 record on the season.
The 14th-ranked junior from Atlanta, Georgia remains undefeated in singles dual play going into this week and leads the Bulldogs with a 22-7 showing overall, including a team-best eight against ranked opponents. Alongside Jan Zielinski, Duncan has the most dual play singles wins for Georgia with eight on the year. After sweeping the singles field on the fifth court at the ITA National Indoors, Duncan received All-Tournament honors.
In six match wins for Georgia, the 28th-ranked junior Jan Zielinski has clinched the match for the Bulldogs on three separate occassions, twice on the fouth court and once on the fifth. The Warsaw, Poland native has dropped only one singles match in dual play this season, helping Georgia with eight wins in dual play. Zielinski also has a 21-7 record overall with seven wins over ranked opponents. The junior has yet to complete only one match this dual season – against Laurens Verboven of Southern California – which was tied at four in the third set when the match ended.
24th-ranked senior Wayne Montgomery was named Co-SEC Player of the Week alongside Tennessee’s senior Luis Valero after a 3-0 weekend in singles and doubles. The accolade marked Montgomery’s fifth weekly award from the SEC in his career, including two Player of the Week honors and three SEC Freshman of the Week. He was also named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2015, the first for the Georgia men’s tennis program since John Isner. Since then, sophomore Nathan Ponwith won SEC Freshman of the Week in 2017 – he was the first SEC player in history to win the Freshman of the Week award five times.
Seven different Bulldogs have posted wins in singles this year, with three different Georgia players taking turns on the sixth court. Behind the top-ranked Wake Forest Deacons with six, Georgia is one of only two teams in the ITA/Oracle Tennis Rankings to total five ranked singles players. Texas A&M also boasts five ranked players in the singles lineup.