Jan. 23, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 29 South Carolina looks to carry momentum from last weekend’s doubleheader sweep into this weekend’s ITA Kickoff Weekend event in Gainesville, Fla. Over the course of the weekend, the Gamecocks will take on two top-35 teams in an event that also welcomes No. 13 Florida (2-0), No. 31 Stanford (1-0) and No. 32 Ole Miss (1-0).
South Carolina will look for continued strong play from senior Kyle Koch who went 2-0 last weekend with efficient wins over Elon and Furman to improve to 11-4 on the season. Koch’s doubles pairing, featuring fellow senior Thiago Pinheiro, also went 2-0 last weekend, making quick work of its opponents as the Gamecocks won all four of their doubles matches. Senior Andrew Adams and sophomore Andrew Schafer also opened dual-match play with solid singles victories.
The Gamecocks play their first match of the weekend at 11 a.m. on Saturday against Stanford, which is coming off a 6-1 win over UC Davis in which the Cardinal’s only lost point came from a three-set battle in the No. 2 position. Stanford’s No. 1 and No. 3 entries made quick work of their opponents, winning 6-1, 6-3 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively. Tom Fawcett, who played in the Cardinal’s premier position in its season-opening match, enters the weekend ranked No. 25 in the country and is the highest ranked player the Gamecocks will face this weekend. No. 75 David Hsu is Stanford’s only other ranked player and is 1-0 in singles play after a 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 marathon victory in the No. 4 spot in the Cardinal lineup.
South Carolina will face a familiar conference foe in its second match of the weekend on Sunday. Depending on the results of Saturday’s matches, the Gamecocks will take on either Florida or Ole Miss. The Gators, who are hosting the event, enter the weekend with two wins under their belt, a 5-2 victory over Troy last weekend and a 9-3 decision over William and Mary that saw Florida sweep the singles. The Gators’ roster consists of three ranked players, most of any participating squad this weekend. No. 34 Maxx Lipman, No. 60 Diego Hidalgo and No. 81 Elliott Orkin highlight the Florida roster and enter the weekend with a combined 4-1 singles record.
Ole Miss won its first and only match of the season last weekend against Central Florida, a match that saw Rebel victories at every position except the No. 2 spot. Ranked Rebels No. 80 Stefan Lindmark and No. 120 Ricardo Jorge, playing from the No. 1 and No. 5spots, respectively, won 6-1, 6-1 and 7-6 (6), 6-4.
The doubles point will be vital for each team this weekend. The four teams enter the weekend with a combined 13-1 record in doubles matches. Florida is the only team to have dropped a doubles match when its No. 3 pairing lost 10-3 against William and Mary. Per the ITA’s latest ranking, the Gators have four doubles pairings ranked in the top 60 including Gordon Watson/Hidalgo, who rank No. 32. The Gamecocks’ No. 46 Thomas Mayronne/Harrison O’Keefe make up the only other ranked doubles pairing at this weekend’s event.
The Gamecocks return to Columbia for a two-week homestand, beginning on Jan. 31 when they host No. 22 Clemson at the USC Fieldhouse at 3 p.m. followed by matches against No. 18 Wake Forest, No. 27 NC State and Wofford the following weekend.