TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The University of Georgia men’s tennis team (25-0) completed the conference sweep as it captured its sixth SEC Tournament Championship title Sunday afternoon in Tuscaloosa with a 4-2 win over the Ole Miss Rebels (20-5). After losing the doubles point for just the second time all season and then falling to 2-0, Georgia rallied back, winning the next four straight singles matches to seal the victory. The match-clinching win came from senior captain Strahinja Bobusic (Perth, Australia) who came back from a set down to defeat Jakob Klaeson, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Senior captain Colin Purcell (Louisville, Ky.) was named the tournament MVP.
“We beat a very good Ole Miss team today,” said Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz. “They came out and took it to us in doubles. Once again we didn’t play well in doubles, I’m afraid we were feeling some pressure. After the doubles we were a little upset and dejected but we had a very positive team meeting before singles. I challenged the guys to show us what they were made of. You can’t win every match 7-0 or 6-1, you have to win the close ones too. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but its worth going after. I am so proud of the way they competed. These are the moments that matter and you remember forever."
After losing the doubles point, the Bulldogs fell to a 2-0 deficit when Juan Pablo Di Cesare defeated Georgia’s Matic Omerzel (Kranj, Slovenia) by a score of 6-4, 6-3. Sophomore Luis Flores (Xalapa, Mexico), ranked No. 20, stopped the bleeding for the Dogs as he took down 43rd-ranked Eric Claesson, 6-4, 6-3. Purcell then tied the match at 2-2 with his 17th consecutive win, topping Robbye Poole at the fifth position, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
With the score tied, senior captain Antonio Ruiz (Monterrey, Mexico) battled back from a 6-2 loss in the first set to take a hard-fought 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over Jakob Klaeson at the third singles spot, giving Georgia a 3-2 edge. It was a race for the match clincher as Bobusic led 5-2 in the third set and second-ranked junior John Isner (Greensboro, N.C.) was up 5-4 in his third set, but Bobusic finished first. Isner’s match was halted at 4-6, 6-3, 5-4.
In doubles play, Georgia’s fifth-ranked duo of Isner and Ruiz fell at the first doubles position, 8-4, to Claesson and Tveit. At the second spot, 39th-ranked Flores and Omerzel gave the Dogs some home of pulling out the doubles point as they downed ten Berge and Di Cesare, 8-5, to even up doubles play. However, Ole Miss held serve in the third position to take down the point as Poole and Klaeson downed 16th-ranked Bobusic and Purcell, 8-4.
The SEC Tournament title is the sixth in Georgia’s history. It was also the 29th overall SEC championship as the Bulldogs own 23 regular-season titles as well, including this year’s.
Georgia will have two weeks off before it competes in first and second round action, May 12-14. Georgia will likely be a first and second round host site, but the official announcements will be made on May 3 at approximately 4:30 p.m. EST on ESPNEWS.
Tennis Match Results
Ole Miss vs Georgia
Apr 23, 2006 at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
#1 Georgia 4, #13 Ole Miss 2
1. #2 John Isner (GEO) vs. #22 Erling Tveit (MISS) 4-6, 6-3, 5-4, unfinished 2. #20 Luis Flores (GEO) def. #43 Eric Claesson (MISS) 6-4, 6-3 3. Antonio Ruiz (GEO) def. Bram ten Berge (MISS) 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 4. #107 Juan Pablo Di Cesare (MISS) def. #65 Matic Omerzel (GEO) 6-4, 6-3 5. Colin Purcell (GEO) def. Robbye Poole (MISS) 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 6. #59 Strahinja Bobusic (GEO) def. Jakob Klaeson (MISS) 2-6, 6-1, 6-2
1. #8 Erling Tveit/Eric Claesson (MISS) def. #4 John Isner/Antonio Ruiz (GEO) 8-4 2. #39 Luis Flores/Matic Omerzel (GEO) def. Bram ten Berge/Juan Pablo Di Cesare (MISS) 8-5 3. Robbye Poole/Jakob Klaeson (MISS) def. #16 Strahinja Bobusic/Colin Purcell (GEO) 8-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (4,2,5,3,6)