A pair of 4-3 thrillers in Palo Alto enabled both sets of Bulldog netters to advance in their respective brackets, as the No. 8 Georgia women’s tennis team came back to beat No. 9 Cal and the No. 6 Georgia men’s tennis team dispatched No. 3 Tennessee to exact a measure of revenge for the regular season.
The Red and Black ladies made short work of the Golden Bears in doubles, as Cameron Ellis and Maho Kowase claimed an 8-2 victory, which Kate Fuller and Lilly Kimbell followed up with an 8-1 win. Kowase got the singles competition off to a promising start with a 6-1, 6-2 victory. California stormed back, however, as Ellis fell, 6-1, 6-1, and Nadja Gilchrist came up short, 7-5, 6-2. With the match now tied 2-2, Cal’s Marina Cossou overcame Kimbell, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, to give the Bears the lead.
Fuller knotted the competition anew with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win, so it all came down to 25th-ranked Chelsey Gullickson’s match against No. 1-ranked Jana Juricova. Gullickson took the first set, 6-3, and Juricova took the second, 7-5. The Californian took a 4-1 lead in the third set, but the Georgian battled back to claim the 6-4 win that dealt Juricova just her second loss of the season and allowed the Red and Black to advance in the women’s bracket.
On the men’s side, the Bulldogs were down early after the Volunteers took the doubles point and Drake Bernstein lost, 6-3, 6-1, to open the singles matches. Ignacio Taboada’s 6-1, 6-2 triumph got Georgia on the board, and Hernus Pieters evened the contest with a 6-1, 6-3 win. Sadio Doumbia’s 6-2, 6-2 victory allowed the Red and Black to edge out in front, but, when Javier Garrapiz went down to defeat, 7-5, 7-5, it all came down to 18th-ranked Wil Spencer’s match with 11th-ranked four-time All-American J.P. Smith. Smith took the first set, 6-2, then Spencer claimed the second by the same score. The third set was snarled, 5-5, when Spencer held serve and came away with the 7-5 triumph that effectively answered two earlier losses to the Big Orange.
The Georgia women’s tennis team advances to the quarterfinals in the ladies’ bracket, where the Bulldogs will face top-ranked and undefeated host squad Stanford at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. The Georgia men’s tennis team advances to the semifinals in the gents’ bracket, where the Bulldogs will face second-seeded Southern California at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday.