Erik Grevelius and Robert Loeb point up while sitting on a bench during the second annual First Serve on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Courts in Athens, Georgia. The men’s and women’s tennis teams played mixed matches against one another and hosted a clinic during the event. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

Though the cold temperatures in Athens forced the relocation of the Georgia men’s tennis match from outdoor to indoor, the Bulldogs came out hot and well-prepared as they took on the Kennesaw State Owls in their season opener.

The Bulldogs’ performance was as assertive with decisive victories across the board. The Georgia men’s tennis team won 8-1. The Bulldogs were confident ahead of their match today, as they were coming off big wins at the Miami Invitational against some of the nation’s top players.

“I felt like we were well prepared,” head coach Manny Diaz said. “The guys have been working very hard and they were excited about our first match. It’s always a few extra butterflies, especially for the young guys, but overall [I am] very pleased with both singles and doubles.”

In doubles, the team dropped only a few games in each match, finishing out all the matches in just more than 30 minutes, highlighted by a 6-1 win by the Georgia duo of Robert Loeb, a senior from Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Erik Grevelius, a freshman from Stockholm, Sweden.

The first-match butterflies were quickly set aside as Tyler Zink, a freshman out of Bradenton, Florida, improved his overall record to 5-1 with a 6-2, 6-4 singles win. Zink also won his doubles match 6-2, alongside sophomore Trent Bryde.

“[Zink and I are] roommates and really good friends, so we have really good chemistry out there,” Bryde said. “Being able to go out there and win our first dual match felt great.”

Bryde went on to play the No. 1 singles match against Kennesaw State’s Bryan Triana, proving to be an early-season test for the sophomore.

Georgia had trained outdoors leading up to Monday’s match, so playing indoors was a factor Bryde felt he had needed to adapt to — especially when it came to returning Triana’s powerful serves.

“I felt pretty comfortable on my serve, I didn’t get broken at all until the second set,” Bryde said.

Bryde won the first set 6-3 but ended up losing the second set 4-6, unable to break Triana’s serve once. He did not let the second set bring him down, with a 6-0 finish in the third set to earn his second victory of the day.

“I just wanted to send a statement in the third set,” Bryde said. “I was able to do that, so I’m happy.”

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