STARKVILLE, Miss. - In its second match against a top 10 opponent this weekend, the No. 11 Mississippi State men's tennis squad (12-4, 2-2 SEC) fell to the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (10-4, 2-1 SEC) 4-1 at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre Sunday.
Play began with singles due to the threat of inclement weather possibly entering the area within hours of the match's start. Georgia got on the board early with a victory on court one, with MSU freshman Romain Bogaerts retiring midway through the second set, giving No. 11 KU Singh a 6-2, 4-0(ret.) win.
With Georgia taking the early lead, State battled back, putting up fights in the first sets on all remaining courts, including claiming the first on courts two, five and six. On court four, MSU junior Zach White fought relentlessly with UGA's Austin Smith, but fell 7-5, 6-4, giving Georgia a 2-0 advantage.
In another furious battle, State freshman Jordan Angus and Georgia sophomore No. 42 Nathan Pasha went back-and-forth in the first set on court three. However, Pasha would steal the first and then take the second to win 7-5, 6-2.
With State down 3-0, they would need to capture the remaining three matches to force a deciding doubles point. After taking the first set, MSU freshman Pedro Dumont dropped his second set with UGA's Garrett Brasseaux, forcing a deciding third on court six. However, Dumont would not be rattled, instead battling Brasseaux and pulling out a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory to put the Maroon and White on the board.
Play then came down to courts two and five, where MSU had taken the first sets on both. However, on court five UGA fought back to force a final set between MSU's Stefan Vinti and Georgia's No. 72 Hernus Pieters. On court two, No. 59 Malte Stropp battled back from down 4-2 to take the first set from UGA's No. 95 Ben Wagland in a tiebreaker 7-6(3). The MSU junior found himself down a break 2-0 early in the second set, but again fought back, eventually going up 5-2.
But on court five, UGA's Pieters would defeat MSU's Vinti 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to clinch the match for Georgia, suspending the match on court two, with Stropp leading 7-6(3), 5-2.
The Maroon and White will return to action next weekend for another round of SEC East opponents at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Bulldogs will host No. 19 Vanderbilt on Friday, March 15, at 2 p.m. CT, and No. 5 Kentucky on Sunday, March 17, at 1 p.m.
No. 7 Georgia 4, No. 11 Mississippi
March 10, 2013 - A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre - Starkville, Miss.
1) No. 11 KU Singh (UGA) def. No. 23 Bogaerts (MSU) 6-2, 4-0(ret.)
2) No. 59 Malte Stropp (MSU) vs. No. 95 Ben Wagland (UGA) 7-6(3), 5-2(susp.)
3) No. 42 Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Jordan Angus (MSU) 7-5, 6-2
4) Austin Smith (UGA) def. Zach White (MSU) 7-5, 6-4
5) No. 72 Hernus Pieters (UGA) def. Stefan Vinti (MSU) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
6) Pedro Dumont (MSU) def. Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4Order of finish... Singles (1,4,3,6,5), Doubles (Not Contested)