South Carolina Wins First Leg of Doubleheader
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 39 South Carolina opened its 2013 season with a 6-1 victory over Charlotte Saturday morning at the USC Indoor Facility in the first half of a men's tennis doubleheader. After a strong showing to win the doubles point, the Gamecocks won the first three singles matches, including Thiago Pinheiro's 7-5, 7-5 effort to deliver the team victory.
The Gamecocks sprang into the season with all three doubles teams building leads early. The No. 2 match provided the first result as Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies defeated Forrest Edwards and Alex Calott 8-3. The Gamecocks got an early break to go up 3-1 and added another two games later for a commanding 5-1 lead. Crisp volleys marked the final game of the set as Menzies followed his serve with a quick volley through the middle of the court to clinch the victory. Ben Barnette and Thiago Pinheiro delivered the doubles point for the Gamecocks with an 8-3 win over Krzysztof Kwasniewicz and Alex Weber in the No. 3 matchup. Barnette and Pinheiro got a service break right out of the gate, taking a 2-0 lead that expanded to 5-2 before the duo cruised to the 8-3 victory.
Junior Chip Cox made quick work of Jordi Massallé Ferrer in the No. 2 singles spot to double the Gamecocks' lead to 2-0. The two traded service breaks to open the match, but Cox kept the pressure up, taking a 3-1 lead and never looking back. His steady aggression delivered a 6-1, 6-1 win to get the Gamecocks started on the right foot.
The matches on the other three courts were much tighter, but South Carolina won the first set of each. While Tsvetan Mihov and Koch rode early service breaks to the end of their 6-4 first-set victories in the Nos. 1 and 3 spots, respectively, Pinheiro needed a late surge to get past Alex Calott in the No. 4 match. The two were on serve through eight games when Pinheiro pressed Calott into a long service game that the 49er sophomore eventually held to stay on pace in the set. After a strong hold to go up 6-5, Pinheiro carried the momentum into the next game. With big groundstrokes, he set up a defensive lob from Calott, which Pinheiro crushed to take the set 7-5.
After winning his first set 6-4, Mihov was in a standoff with Jack Williams through much of the second. The two battled for every point to stay on serve before Mihov fought out a break to go up 5-4. In his first match in the Garnet and Black, the Bulgarian held his final service game to put the Gamecocks up 3-0. On Court 4, Pinheiro was in a similar struggle, although the Brazilian yielded the first service break to fall behind Calott 3-4. With resilience, Pinheiro wasted little time in breaking through Calott's serve in the next game. After fighting to hold his serve for a 6-5 advantage, Pinheiro set up two match points before a definitive overhead finished off the second to clinch the team victory for South Carolina.
Edwards got the 49ers on the board in the No. 3 match, scoring a comeback victory over Koch (4-6, 7-6 (5), 1-0 (6)). Menzies took on Charlotte's Paul Cisti in the No. 5 match, and Barnette faced Nate Shanok in the No. 6 contest. After falling behind early in his first set, Menzies won four of the next five games but saw Cisti close the set 6-4. Menzies came back to take the next set winning 6-2 and then fought hard in a back and forth tiebreaker to come out with an 11-9 victory. Barnette, meanwhile, was dominant in both of his sets, winning 6-1 and 6-0.
The Gamecocks are back in action at 4 p.m. this afternoon, hosting Presbyterian in the second half of the doubleheader.
Gamecocks Win Second Leg to Secure Sweep
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 39 South Carolina defeated Presbyterian with a 4-0 victory Saturday afternoon at the USC Indoor Facility in the second half of a men's tennis doubleheader. The Gamecocks secured the doubles point and went on to win the first three singles matches with Kyle Koch securing the final point.
In doubles, the No. 1 spot provided the first result as Tsvetan Mihov and Chip Cox defeated Rafael Berghaus and Grayson Mills 8-1. After each team won a game, the Gamecocks took the next seven for a powerful victory. Koch and Harry Menzies locked in the doubles point with an 8-2 victory over Gonzalo Asis and Andrew Brigham in the No. 2 match. The Gamecocks took an early 5-0 lead and, after the Blue Hose picked up two games, the South Carolina won three straight to get the win.
Cox added to the Gamecocks lead securing the first singles point from the No. 2 spot for the second time in as many matches, as he defeated Berghaus in two quick sets. In the first set Cox broke out in an early lead and never looked back, winning both sets 6-2.
Mihov was down to Mills early in the No. 1 match, but the Gamecock junior powered back to take the first set 6-2, punctuating the rally with an overhead on set point. He proved dominant in the second set, taking and early 4-0 lead and finishing with a 6-1 victory to put the Gamecocks up 3-0.
Koch clinched the Gamecock victory when he defeated Brigham in the No. 3 spot, 6-2, 6-4. Koch got an early service break and a 2-0 lead to breeze through the first set. The second set was tighter early until Koch picked up a break to go up 3-2 and held through his final service game to keep the Gamecocks perfect on the season.
With the team outcome settled, the other singles matches were suspended in progress. In the only other match to have finished a game, Thiago Pinheiro led Danny Bruce 6-3 in the No. 4 matchup.
South Carolina returns to action next Saturday in another doubleheader at the indoor facility. Play begins at 10 a.m. against Furman with the second half coming at 4 p.m. against Appalachian State.