Georgia and Pepperdine advance to final at USTA/ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships

February 20, 2006 09:25 AM

Georgia and Pepperdine notched semifinal victories Sunday to advance to Monday's final at the United States Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men's Team Indoor Championships at the University of Washington's Lloyd Nordstrom Tennis Center.

Second-seeded Georgia edged No. 3 Illinois 4-3 and fourth-seeded Pepperdine beat No. 9 Duke 4-1 in Sunday's semifinals. Monday's championship match is scheduled at noon PT. Live video and scoring updates from the final can be viewed at

Pepperdine reaches its third USTA/ITA final and first since 1986 when it beat SMU for the title in Louisville, Ky. The Waves also made final appearances in 1982 and 1983, winning the '82 championship. Georgia will be making its fifth appearance, first since 1997 and looking to win its first title. The Bulldogs will also try to become the first Southeastern Conference school to claim the USTA/ITA title.

Pepperdine (13-0) won the doubles point on Sunday and got wins in singles from Pedro Rico at the No. 2 position, Andre Begemann at No. 5 and Omar Altmann at No. 6. Altmann clinched the victory with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4) win over Ned Samuelson. Duke's (6-2) lone point came from Ludovic Walter at No. 1 singles. Five of the six singles matches were extended to three sets.

Duke was playing in its fourth semifinal since 1999 and trying to reach the championship match for the first time. The Blue Devils were also trying for their third straight upset. On Saturday they upset No. 1 Florida and they opened the tournament by beating No. 8 Baylor.

Georgia (7-0) won the doubles point, but Illinois (8-1) rebounded to take a 3-1 lead thanks to wins in singles from Kevin Anderson at No. 3, Ryan Rowe at No. 5 and Marc Spicijaric at No. 6. Georgia evened the score at 3-3 with wins from Luis Flores at No. 1 and John Isner at No. 2. The match came down to the No. 4 position where UGA's Strahinja Bobusic outlasted Ruben Gonzales 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

Illinois was trying for its sixth title appearance since 1998 and third title in four years.

Pepperdine is currently tied with four other schools (California, Illinois, SMU and Southern California) for third place in USTA/ITA history with two titles. Title No. 3 would place it behind Stanford (12) and UCLA (7). A title would also reestablish the state of California's success in this event. A California school won the title every year from 1984-2002. However Illinois (2003-04) and Baylor (2005) won the last three championships.

The Feb. 17-20 USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship is collegiate tennis' premier indoor team tournament. It began in 1973 and each season offers a preview of the teams to beat at the season-ending NCAA Championships in May. Nine of the top 10 teams from the latest Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings highlight this year's field.

Consolation results from Sunday:
Mississippi 4, Florida 2
Penn 4, South Carolina 2
Baylor 4, Florida State 0
LSU 4, Arkansas 1
UCLA 4,Washington 1
Virginia 4, Colorado 1