Saturday February 15, 2014Watson Delivers as the No. 12 Gators Upset SEC-Rival No. 4 Georgia 4-2 at ITA Team Indoors
The twelfth-ranked Gators halted their three-match losing streak with a 4-2 upset over SEC-East foe No. 4 Georgia at the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship at The Downtown Club at the Met in Houston.
Florida took an early lead in doubles play as the No. 24 senior duo Michael Alford and Stephane Piro led off with a dominant 6-1 victory over Georgia’s Hernus Pieters and Nick Wood. The Bulldogs then took the No. 2 doubles match, but Gators pair Diego Hidalgo and Florent Diep battled back to clinch the doubles point at No. 3.
In singles, UF sophomore Gordon Watson had a clutch performance and defeated UGA’s No. 109 Nick Wood to seal the Gator victory.
Play continues tomorrow at 12:30 pm ET as the Gators compete in their last match of the competition against either No. 9 Mississippi State or No. 16 Notre Dame. For the complete ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship draw, click here.
Head Coach Bryan Shelton Says: “It was pretty exciting. Gordon really played well to finish it for us. He had to deal with some pressure there. It’s not easy to close out a good team and he held his nerves together and played aggressively. It was good to see him to play to win. The tiebreak was tight the whole way through and then [UGA’s] Nick Wood finally gave him something. I thought Gordon did a great job of never letting up today.”
“As a whole, it was a team win. Any time you win a match and rely on more than one guy, it’s a great win. In doubles, we know how important it is to get to 1-0 in a match because it’s hard for a team to win those four points. What we did in doubles, I thought we were really clutch. Stephane and Michael, they never let the other guys in the match. At No. 2 doubles, we got down early but fought our way back to make it competitive against a very, very good team in [Nathan] Pasha and Garrett Brasseaux. As for No. 3 doubles, they were tremendous. They played aggressive on the big points and really took control of the match late in the set. Like with Gordon, it was great to see them step up, trust and believe and it was just an overall big win for our team.”
“Our guys want to finish this thing out and be 2-1 when we leave here. We’re going to get after it tomorrow.”
No. 12 Florida 4, No. 4 Georgia 2
(1) No. 24 Stephane Piro/Michael Alford (UF) def. Hernus Pieters/Nick Wood (UGA) 6-1
(2) Nathan Pasha/Garrett Brasseaux (UGA) def. Gordon Watson/Maxx Lipman (UF) 6-4
(3) Diego Hidalgo/Florent Diep (UF) def. Austin Smith/Eric Diaz (UGA) 6-4*
Florida wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 2, 3*
(1) No. 14 Austin Smith (UGA) def. No. 55 Stephane Piro (UF) 6-3, 6-2
(2) No. 20 Nathan Pasha (UGA) def. Diego Hidalgo (UF) 6-1, 6-2
(3) Gordon Watson (UF) def. No. 109 Nick Wood (UGA) 6-4, 6-5 (7-5)*
(4) Florent Diep (UF) vs. No. 59 Hernus Pieters (UGA) 4-6, 5-4, unfinished
(5) Maxx Lipman (UF) def. Eric Diaz (UGA) 6-0, 6-5 (7-5)
(6) Michael Alford (UF) won by walkover
Order of finish: 6, 2, 1, 5, 3*
Records: Florida 4-3, Georgia 3-4
Follow the Gators: For complete coverage of the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship, visit the official ITA event page. Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates and news from the weekend's events. Use the hashtag #ITAIndoors for all tweets regarding the competition.