The No. 4 ITA-ranked Georgia women’s tennis team had their first home match of 2024 during the ITA Kick-off Weekend. The Bulldogs faced, and won, against the University of South Florida Bulls 4-0 on Friday.
After a 4-1 win against Arizona, South Carolina will face Georgia in the championship match on Jan. 27.
This win serves as Drake Berstein’s first win as head coach, following Jeff Wallace’s retirement. Bernstein recognized how the team benefited from playing at Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
“Playing on these courts in this facility, seeing our familiar faces in the crowd. It’s great to be back home,” Berstein said.
Juniors Guillermina Grant and Mai Nirundorn were the first pair to finish in doubles play, dominating on court two. The No. 15 ITA-ranked duo swept opponents Rhea Makesar and Ireland Simme 6-0.
Dasha Vidmanova and Aysegul Mert clinched another doubles point for Georgia after a 6-2 win against Grace Schumacher and Nadja Bay Christians. Vidmanova and Mert had a strong match and were able to work well together towards the end of play to secure another Bulldogs point.
“I think we were just very committed to doing what we did in practice and what we were told to do by the coaches. I think we did well and it worked,” Vidmanova said.
On court three, Alexandra Vecic and Mell Reasco opted to not finish their doubles match against Marta Falceto Font and Melisa Senli, despite being up 5-3.
In singles play, Grant was quick to finish and had full control on court five against Gargi Pawar. In consecutive sets, Grant prevailed 6-0, 6-0 and swept her opponent, and effectively brought the score to 2-0 Georgia.
Looking to add another win to the scoreboard, sophomore Anastasiia Lopata was next to finish on court four. No. 70 ITA-ranked Lopata played strong in straight sets with a 6-1, 6-2 win against Font. Lopata’s win brought the score to 3-0 Georgia, meaning the team only needed to win one more singles match to secure a victory.
Following close behind Lopata, No. 108 ITA-ranked Nirundorn had two strong sets against Makesar, and clinched the match for Georgia 6-2, 6-0.
After a devastating 7-0 loss to start the spring season against No.1 ITA-ranked UNC, Bernstein said he saw renewed commitment the team had to win throughout the matches.
“Everybody was really committed to the way that they wanted to play from start to finish today. Really happy with how we finished in singles. We walk off those courts feeling better than we started,” Berstein said.
After the ITA Kick-off Weekend in Athens, the Bulldogs will travel to Austin, Texas to face the Longhorns on Feb. 4, 2024.