Jan. 13, 2018
COLUMBIA, S.C. -The No. 20 South Carolina men’s tennis team showed its endurance on Saturday in a doubleheader sweep of the Citadel. The Gamecocks did not drop a set, finishing both matches 7-0. The two match wins set South Carolina up for a perfect 2-0 start to its 2018 spring season.
The Gamecocks started the day strong with three doubles wins. Senior Gabriel Friedrich and freshman Francisco Cerundolo started the momentum early with a service break in the first set of their match against The Citadel’s Willem van Zyl and Gavin Stewart, finishing with a score of 6-2 at the top of the lineup. The No. 2 and No. 3 duos of Thomas Mayronne and Paul Jubb and Yancy Dennis and Harrison O’Keefe allowed their opponents only one game each, finishing with matching scores of 6-1. Mayronne and Jubb utilized strong net play to allow them to take the first win of the match.
Friedrich showed his value in the No. 1 singles spot, getting three straight service breaks to go 6-0 in his first set. He powered through his match to wrap up a 6-0, 6-2 win over against van Zyl to earn the first singles match point of the day. Jubb also started his match with three service breaks for a perfect 6-0 first set and allowed Roy Hobson only one game to earn the 6-0, 6-1 win.
O’Keefe, recently recovered from an off-season shoulder injury, came out strong in his first competitive match since the 2017 NCAA Championships. He earned the third singles point from the No. 4 spot with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Matthew Henson. Wood Benton and Dennis brought in the fourth and fifth points for the Gamecocks, topping their opponents 6-1, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-3, respectively. Thomas Brown took some adjustments in his first set of collegiate dual play, but was able to come back and secure a 7-5, 6-3 win over Stewart.
After an hour and a half break, the Gamecocks came back with another impressive showing in doubles. Mayronne and Jubb showed up big in the No. 2 spot, going 6-0 over van Zyl and Stewart, who had played in the No. 1 spot the previous match. The duo earned the first win of the second match, followed by Friedrich and Dennis, who took a 6-1 win in the No. 1 spot over The Citadel’s Henson and Will Graham. Cerundolo and Benton also took a 6-1 win at No. 3 over Trey Davis and Jake Pyritz.
Benton swept 12 straight games over The Citadel’s Trey Davis to earn the Gamecocks their first singles point of the afternoon match. His 6-0, 6-0 finish at No. 5 was followed shortly by Dennis at the No. 2 spot with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Henson.
After an incredible fall season that earned him a spot as the No. 57 singles player nationally, freshman Francisco Cerundolo did not disappoint in the first dual match of his collegiate career. The Buenos Aires, Argentina native battled through for a 6-3, 6-1 win in at No. 1 over van Zyl for the third singles point. Fellow freshman Brown showed increased confidence from the morning’s match, finishing with the fourth singles match point and a 6-2, 6-2 win over Graham.
Harrison O’Keefe followed up with a win on a tough rally on the match point to finish 6-2, 6-2 win over Stewert. Mayronne secured the sweep for the Gamecocks with the final point, going 6-0, 6-2 over Pyritz.
Quotables: Head Coach Josh Goffi
"I was surprised at how well the guys were able to accomplish our goals. There were some very basic things, a run through of pre-match routines, getting guys mentally ready. Most of the team was sharp; some guys weren’t in the first go, which is why they played in the second match. They came back and made great adjustments. Overall, as a team we had three goals and for the most part by the end of the day everybody accomplished those. I was very pleasantly surprised with where we’re at now in the season, and I’m looking forward to this following weekend.”"
The Gamecocks travel to Davidson, N.C., for their first road dual against Davidson and Elon on January 20.
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