Sept. 16, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. – South Carolina sophomore Kyle Koch closed out his weekend at the Duke Fab Four Invite with a tight victory on Sunday. With rain in the area moving the tournament indoors to Duke’s Sheffield Tennis Center, Koch carried the momentum he built on Saturday into Sunday’s battle to claim third place on the consolation side of the White Bracket.
“Overall, this was a positive weekend for Kyle,” South Carolina assistant coach Matt Lucas said. “He picked up two wins, including today’s against one of the top six players on a top-30 team. Even in his losses, he was playing the right way and doing the right things. Kyle hasn’t played a lot of tennis at this level, so he’s still learning, finding his game and what works for him. But, this weekend he was doing the right things, just fell short a few times in execution.”
Koch dropped his opening match of the event on Friday by a single service break in each set against the nation’s 52nd-ranked player, but found his footing on Saturday with an efficient victory in the consolation semifinals. There he fell by the narrowest of margins to set up his third-place match on Sunday.
The final match for Koch also went down to the wire. The Gamecocks’ sophomore powerhouse stormed to a 6-1 first-set win over Louisville’s Chris Simich. The Cardinals’ sophomore rallied to win the second set 6-3, setting up a third-set, super-tiebreak. The two fought to the bitter end, stretching the tiebreak beyond its usual 10 points, with Koch coming out on top 15-13.
“Today, Kyle’s energy was good, and he jumped on his opponent right away,” Lucas said. “The guy made adjustments in the second set, and that’s a good thing for Kyle, and all of our team really, to learn from. At this level, everyone can adjust in a match, and you have to be ready for that. They’re all learning that once you get ahead, you have to keep going, stronger and harder than at the start. It was good to see Kyle come back to get the win in the tiebreak today, and it should give him confidence playing in the rest of the fall.”
The Gamecocks will be back in action in two weeks at the Chattanooga Invitational.
South Carolina Results
Kyle Koch (SC) def. Chris Simich (UL) 6-1, 3-6, 1-0 (13)