LAKE NONA, Fla. - Georgia men's tennis redshirt freshman Ethan Quinn has become the seventh Bulldog in program history to make the NCAA Singles Championship Finals, as he defeated Virginia's Chris Rodesch in the semifinals, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, on Friday afternoon at the United States Tennis Association National Complex.
This marks the first time in the program's storied history that a freshman will compete for an individual national championship. Quinn is now the seventh Bulldog to reach the singles finals and the first since John Isner did so in 2007 as the field's top seed.
Quinn will look to win Georgia's fifth singles title against Michigan's No. 8 Ondrej Styler on Saturday, May 27 at 10 a.m. ET. Styler, a senior from Prague, Czech Republic, is 33-4 on the year, going 11-1 on court one and 22-1 during the spring season.
"A great win by Ethan," said head coach Manuel Diaz. "The first set, Chris Rodesch just played really well. It seemed like the better Ethan was playing, Chris was matching him. We challenged him to change his game plan a little bit and to play a little bit higher and slower. Ethan just has a tremendous competitive nature and was up to the challenge. He did a great job of hitting his stride in the second set. As play went along, he became a little bit more confident, and his level of play went up. Just a terrific win against a difficult situation."
The Fresno, Calif. native has now won 16 consecutive singles matches and is 21-1 dating back to Feb. 19. His win against Rodesch, who is ranked No. 9 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles poll, moves Quinn to 33-10 on the year and 25-7 against ranked opponents.
The first lead of the match went to Rodesch, who took a 4-1 lead in the first set after breaking Quinn's serve and holding. The Virginia junior would take the opening set, 6-2, after winning set point on Quinn's serve. Quinn would begin the second set similarly, taking a 5-1 lead by holding serve and after breaking Rodesch in the first game and again to go up 4-1. The Bulldog would take the second also by a 6-2 score.
The third set would stay on serve through 3-3. Quinn would take a 15-40 lead while returning, but Rodesch battled back to force a deciding point. The final break of the match came after Rodesch's return from Quinn's backhand slice went long, allowing the redshirt freshman to take a 5-3 lead in the set after holding. Quinn would go on to win the set and the match by a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 score.
The 2023 SEC Freshman of the Year and a member of the All-SEC First Team, Quinn is now part of an accomplished group of Bulldogs to make the finals, which includes Patricio Arnold, George Bezecny, Matias Boeker, John Isner, Wade McGuire and Mikael Pernfors.
"We've had players in the finals before, but every year is different," said Coach Diaz. "This year, Ethan has just come into his own and improved as the year has gone on. Tomorrow, he faces a very good and very seasoned opponent. We'll come up with a game plan and he'll be ready to go. He's been playing his best tennis towards the end of this season. He's done a great job of preparing, not just physically but mentally, he improved in many areas as the year and spring has gone along."