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Georgia Falls to No. 9 Texas, 4-3


Ryan Cullinane

Sports Communications Graduate Assistant

University of Georgia Athletic Association


The No. 38 Georgia men’s tennis team fell to the No. 9 Texas Longhorns, 4-3, in a lengthy three-hour, 27-minute match on Thursday evening at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

 

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs’ (6-7, 1-3 SEC) Niels Ratiu defeated the Longhorns’ (11-3) No. 48 Giles-Arnaud Bailly, who peaked in the International Tennis Federation world rankings at No. 1 in 2022, on court three. The match marked Ratiu’s highest-ranked singles win of his collegiate career as he handed Bailly just his second loss of the spring. Thursday’s result marks the fourth-straight match between Georgia and Texas to finish in a 4-3 decision.

 

“We came out and we fought like Bulldogs,” head coach Manuel Diaz said. “I’m so proud of this team. We’re growing, we're getting better, and we're getting incredible effort from our guys, so I can't complain an ounce about what this group is doing out there every day. Today, they played their hearts out."

 

The Longhorns began the match in front after earning the doubles point with wins on courts three and one. On court two, Ryan Colby and Thomas Paulsell were looking to serve out the match but went unfinished after Texas clinched the point. 

 

The Longhorns quickly jumped out to match point after taking wins on courts six and one. Georgia responded by swiftly putting itself on the board with Ratiu’s big victory. After taking the breaker in the first set, the Liège, Belgium native took his second-ranked win of the season in straight sets 7-6(1), 6-4, against No. 48 G.-A. Bailly. 

 

No. 65 Colby took the first set and faced match point while serving in the second, up 5-4, but was unable to convert on the opportunity. No. 2 Braswell managed to tie it up after a breaker, forcing the match into a third set. At break point tied at five games all, No. 2 Braswell broke No. 65 Colby and clinched the match after serving it out by a score of 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5.

 

The teams played out the remaining singles matches. On court four, No. 100 Miguel Perez Peña won his match after retirement from Jonah Braswell in the second-set breaker, giving the junior his 19th singles win of the year. Cyrus Mahjoob notched his fifth-consecutive singles win, taking the match against Cleeve Harper by a 1-6, 7-6(9), 7-5 score.

 

"I'm proud of our guys, they fought their hearts out and played a great Texas team very close,” Coach Diaz said. “We had a couple of match points at number two there. Ryan Colby has been playing so well and is doing a tremendous job for us, but we lost a close one there. The difference turned out to be the doubles point. Our guys fought hard, but Texas just played tremendous doubles.”

 

Georgia will continue conference play by traveling to College Station, Texas, for its match against No. 12 Texas A&M at the Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, March 17 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

 

No. 9 Texas 4, No. 38 Georgia 3

 

Doubles competition

1. Eliot Spizzirri/Siem Woldeab (UT) def. Freddy Blaydes/Niels Ratiu (UGA) 6-3

2. Ryan Colby/Thomas Paulsell (UGA) vs. Pierre-Yves Bailly/Gilles-Arnaud Bailly (UT) 5-4, unfinished 

3. Micah Braswell/Cleeve Harper (UT) def. Cyrus Mahjoob/Miguel Perez Peña (UGA) 6-1*

Order of finish: 1, 3*

 

Singles competition

1. No. 1 Eliot Spizzirri (UT) def. No. 82 Thomas Paulsell (UGA) 6-4, 6-2

2. No. 2 Micah Braswell (UT) def. No. 65 Ryan Colby (UGA) 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5*

3. Niels Ratiu (UGA) def. No. 48 Gilles-Arnaud Bailly (UT) 7-6(1), 6-4

4. No. 100 Miguel Perez Peña (UGA) def. Jonah Braswell (UT) 6-7(6), 6-6 (3-1), retired 

5. Cyrus Mahjoob (UGA) def. Cleeve Harper (UT) 1-6, 7-6(9), 7-5

6. Lucas Brown (UT) def. Freddy Blaydes (UGA) 6-1, 6-4

Order of finish: 6, 1, 3, 2*, 4, 5


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