On Friday, the Georgia men’s tennis team welcomed the Gators to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex for a rivalry match carrying important consequences for the Bulldogs’ SEC championship hopes. In a hard-fought court battle, the Red and Black emerged victorious by a 4-3 final margin.
Georgia took the doubles point by capturing two of three tandem matches. Javier Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters opened with an 8-5 win, but Drake Bernstein and Wil Spencer fell 9-7 to their Florida counterparts, so it was up to Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada to close the deal for the ‘Dawgs. This they did in a 9-8 triumph.
In singles, the Sunshine State Saurians’ Billy Federhofer made short work of Pieters, winning 6-1, 6-0 to make it 1-1. Spencer put the Athenians back in front with a 6-4, 6-3 dispatching of Alex Lacroix. The Orange and Blue tied it up again by dealing Bernstein a 6-3, 6-3 setback, snarling the contest at 2-2.
Taboada outlasted the Gators’ Spencer Newman 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, but Florida would not go quietly. Doumbia dropped a 7-6, 6-3 decision to make Garrapiz’s face-off with Sekou Bangoura, Jr., the clinching match. Garrapiz took the first set 6-2, and Bangoura won the second 6-3. Garrapiz delivered a 6-3 triumph in the third set to make the Bulldogs the 4-3 victors.
The win kept Georgia’s conference title hopes alive, adding to the importance of next weekend’s showdown with Tennessee. On top of that, though, it was a win over Florida in a sport at which both the Bulldogs and the Gators are good, so, really, I’ll take the victory on that basis alone.