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Oct. 17, 2013

CARY, N.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis posted nine wins in 11 matches in day-one action in the ITA Carolina Regional at the Cary Tennis Park. Chip Cox, Kyle Koch, Tsvetan Mihov and Thiago Pinheiro advanced to the round of 32 in singles with solid performances in the first two rounds of play. Singles continues on Friday with one round as doubles kicks off as well.

Pinheiro got the Gamecocks off to a great start with a unblemished 6-0, 6-0 win over NC Central’s Tamina Kienka in opening-round action. The Gamecocks’ junior went on to battle past Jordan Kaufman of Elon 7-5, 6-4 in round two. Pinheiro will take on the tournament’s top seed in No. 5 Romain Bogaerts of Wake Forest at 2 p.m. Friday in the round of 32.

Freshman Andrew Schafer outlasted Furman’s Jacob Behal in a first-set tiebreak, 7-6 (8), then closed out the match with a 6-3 second set. Schafer drew the tournament’s No. 11 seed in North Carolina’s Ronnie Schneider in the second round. The Tar Heels’ freshman jumped out to an early lead in the first set and kept Schafer on his heels throughout in a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Cox played five sets over his two matches with the winner yielding no more than one game in each. In the first round, he powered past NC Central’s Jamal Hoyte 6-1, 6-1 to set up a second-round outing against Ahmet Sarioglu of UNC Greensboro. The Gamecocks’ junior took the first set 6-1 only to see Sarioglu return the favor in the second set (6-1). Cox shook off the setback quickly to score a 6-0 victory in the third set and move into the round of 32, where he will play NC State’s Robbie Mudge at 1 p.m. Friday.

Koch faced Clemson freshman Robert Dudley in first-round action and had to fight out a tiebreak 7-6 (6) to win the first set. The Gamecocks’ junior carried that momentum through to a 6-2 second set and a spot in the second round. His workmanlike 6-3, 6-3 win over Winthrop’s Dylan Comerford Thursday afternoon set up Friday’s 2 p.m. match against Duke’s Jason Tahir, who is ranked No. 111 in the nation.

No. 14 Mihov battled through the first round with a 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over Furman’s Matt Browne, then shook off an early push from Alex Calott of Charlotte to win his second-round match 7-5, 6-2. Mihov, the tournament’s second seed, will take on Aws Laaribi of Wake Forest in the round of 32 at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Junior Ben Barnette suffered a tough three-set loss in the first round as NC Central’s Daniil Gerasimov rallied back from losing the first set 6-3 to win the next two by the same score.

The Gamecocks’ three doubles teams – No. 26 Cox/Koch, No. 32 Mihov/Pinheiro, and Schafer/Sam Swank – will open play on Friday morning.

South Carolina Results

First Round

Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Tamina Kienka (NCC) 6-0, 6-0
Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Jacob Behal (FUR) 7-6 (8), 6-3
Chip Cox (SC) def. Jamal Hoyte (NCC) 6-1, 6-1
Kyle Koch (SC) def. Robert Dudley (CU) 7-6 (6), 6-2
Daniil Gerasimov (NCC) def. Ben Barnette (SC) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
(14) Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. Matt Browne (FUR) 6-3, 7-6 (5)

Second Round
Pinheiro (SC) def. Jordan Kaufman (Elon) 7-5, 6-4
Ronnie Schneider (NC) def. Schafer (SC) 6-2, 6-4
Cox (SC) def. Ahmet Sarioglu (UNCG) 6-1, 1-6, 6-0
Koch (SC) def. Dylan Comerford (WU) 6-3, 6-3
Mihov (SC) def. Alex Calott (CHA) 7-5, 6-2