Jan. 31, 2014
ATLANTA - No. 17 South Carolina suffered a 4-2 loss at Georgia Tech Friday evening at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex. The Gamecocks (3-2) opened with a 2-0 lead but the Yellow Jackets (4-0) closed out three singles matches in rapid succession to seize momentum en route to the victory. South Carolina freshman Andrew Schafer remained undefeated in his dual-match season with the Gamecocks' lone singles point of the match.
"Hats off to Georgia Tech today," South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. "They came out today with something to prove and played like it. Every guy in their lineup played really well and with a lot of passion. Our guys battled well at certain spots and not as well at others. That's something that we will have to get better at for the next match."
The teams split the top two doubles matches with South Carolina's duo of Thiago Pinheiro and Tsvetan Mihov posting a 6-4 win over Nathan Rakitt and Casey Kay in the No. 2 spot. For the second-straight match, the Gamecocks would have to win a tiebreak in the No. 3 match to secure the early team lead. Once again Schafer and Andrew Adams delivered, outlasting Cole Fiegel and Anish Sharma 6-5 (5) to put South Carolina up 1-0 going into singles action.
Georgia Tech sprinted out of the gate in singles, winning three first sets and sending two others into tiebreaks. Schafer secured his first set quickly, posting a 6-2 win over Sharma in the No. 6 match. Mihov, Adams and Chip Cox dropped theirs with late service breaks from the Yellow Jackets. In the No. 2 match, Kyle Koch came back from an early service break to push his first set against Carlos Benito into a tiebreak, which also stretched into extended points until the Gamecocks' junior finally broke through 6-5 (11). Pinheiro and Kay were on-serve throughout the set with Kay just edging South Carolina's junior 6-5 (6) in the tiebreak to make it four first-set wins for the Yellow Jackets.
Schafer made it a 2-0 South Carolina lead with his 6-0 second set over Sharma, and Pinheiro got a break to win his second set over Kay 6-3 soon after. Georgia Tech would not cede the momentum, though, posting straight-set wins in the Nos. 1, 3 and 5 matches one right after the other to surge ahead 3-2 with the two remaining matches on court just starting their third sets.
While Koch fell behind Benito early in his set, Pinheiro and Kay were on-serve through seven games. Trailing 3-4, though, Pinheiro won the next two games to got up 5-4, breathing life into the Gamecocks' chances of victory. Koch narrowed the gap to Benito to 3-4 as the No. 4 match went into a tiebreak. For the second time in the three sets, though, Kay would edge out Pinheiro in the extra session, sealing Georgia Tech's victory with a 6-5 (5) decision.
South Carolina returns to Columbia for a Sunday doubleheader against No. 56 Middle Tennessee State and Wofford. Matches at the USC Fieldhouse are slated for 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
Georgia Tech 4, #17 South Carolina 2Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3*)
1. Eduardo Segura/Carlos Benito (GT) def. (24) Chip Cox/Kyle Koch (SC) 6-2
2. Thiago Pinheiro/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. Nathan Rakitt/Casey Kay (GT) 6-4
3. Andrew Adams/Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Cole Fiegel/Anish Sharma (GT) 6-5 (5)
Singles (Order of Finish: 6, 1, 5, 3, 4*)
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