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Adams Scores Career-Best Victory to Advance in NCAAs
Men's Tennis  . 

Adams Scores Career-Best Victory to Advance in NCAAs

May 21, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. – South Carolina junior Andrew Adams posted the best win of his career in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship, powering past No. 3 Julian Lenz of Baylor, 6-1, 6-3, to advance to the second round of the event. It is the second-straight season that a Gamecock has upset a top-three seed in the event’s first round.

“Andrew showed so much determination today,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “We had a game plan and right off the bat, he had an idea of how he needed to play. From the start, he was on it; he executed the mentality he needed. Throughout the match, he went in and out a bit, but he didn’t let go. He stayed in the match mentally and really focused even harder right down to the end.”

In his career debut at the event, Adams, ranked No. 54 going into the tournament, asserted his will on Lenz from the opening serve. The Gamecocks’ junior took his opening service game then pressed his opponent to deuce in the next before Lenz pulled out the win. Adams survived a challenge from the Baylor sophomore in the next game, but took a 2-1 lead and carried the momentum into the next game. Falling behind 15-40, Lenz erased the first break point he faced, but Adams forced a long rally that saw his opponent’s backhand up the line carry wide to deliver a 3-1 advantage, which he consolidated with by holding at Love to go up 4-1 in the first set. South Carolina’s top singles entry kept his foot on the gas, using a great cross-court forehand to set up two more break points a 40-15. Lenz’s service winner took one of them away, but a double fault made it a 5-1 lead for Adams, who breezed through his service game to close the set 6-1.

“The game plan was to play solid along with a few other pretty detailed things I needed to do,” Adams said of his quick start to the match. “I didn’t really focus on the start. I just focused on my goals, and it just so happened that I went out early, so I took advantage of that. I was just more focused on my goals and executed those to get the win.”

The second set started much like the first with Adams pouncing on Lenz’s service game to take a 1-0 lead. After holding his own serve, he had another break point in the third game, but Lenz held off the second break of the set. Serving with a 3-2 lead, Adams was pushed to deuce but pushed back to take the game two points later. As with the first set, the triumph carried over to the next game, where Adams yielded just one point en route to an insurance break for a 5-2 lead. Serving for the match, the fiery junior faltered briefly, as Lenz broke to stay in it at 5-3. The recently named ITA National Player to Watch jumped out to a 30-Love lead on his service game, looking to put the pressure back on Adams’ serve. The Gamecocks’ All-SEC selection worked the next point until he got an easy volley to cut his deficit in half at 30-15. Lenz hit a service winner to go up 40-15 but suffered a pair of double faults to take the game to deuce. With another game point in hand, Lenz saw Adams power a forehand passing shot by him. Adams won the next point as well, where the pressure of his solid returns throughout the match weighed on Lenz, who double faulted on match point to give Adams the 6-3 victory.

“The last two games were definitely the toughest two games I’ve played,” Adams said. “I had a lot of nerves, but I settled them down. It was definitely getting dividends paid for the entire year, because in that moment I knew I had worked and trained all year for that. It was mine, and I just needed to take it. I got a little tight out there, but I brought myself back into the moment – put my blinders on and refocused.”

Adams will take on No. 26 Daniil Proskura of Alabama on Thursday in the second round. The two have played twice already this season. Proskura won the regular-season meeting, Adams’ first playing in the No. 1 position in the lineup, rallying back from losing the first set. The rematch came in the second round of the SEC Tournament, where Proskura won the first set 6-1 but trailed in a second-set tiebreak when the match was suspended.