Nov. 7, 2015
ORLANDO, Fla. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Sophomores Gabriel Friedrich and Harrison O’Keefe are set to meet in the finals of the USTA Clay Court Invitational at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., after posting impressive victories in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. This marks the second time this fall the Gamecocks will finish one-two at a fall tournament after doing so at the South Carolina Collegiate Championship.
Friedrich, the No. 7 seed, opened the day with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Giovani Samaha of Troy before moving to the finals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Pepperdine’s Pedro Iamachkine. Not to be outmatched, O’Keefe outlasted Jimmy Bendeck of Baylor, 6-2, 7-6 (4), before overwhelming Pepperdine’s Pedro Iamachkine, 6-4, 6-3.
Freshman Wood Benton fell just shy of reaching the finals of the Garnet Draw, suffering a 6-4, 6-3 defeat to No. 1 seed Tomas Hanzlik of Penn State. This marks the first blemish on Benton’s record in seven matches as he tallied a 3-1 record over the weekend and won four straight at the ITA Carolina Regional.
South Carolina’s run in doubles ended Saturday in the semifinals of both draws. Friedrich and O’Keefe fell short against No. 2 Hadlich and Sidney of Pepperdine, 8-4, in the Gold Draw. Benton and freshman Yancy Dennis fell in the Garnet Draw to No. 3 Donohue and Morin of Louisville, 8-3.
Juniors Alex Fennell and Sam Swank won consolation matches on Saturday. Fennell defeated Inaki Espindola of UCF, 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (6), to improve his record to 7-3. Swank earned his ninth win of the fall with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Lucas Gonzalez of South Alabama.
Live coverage of Sunday’s finals are available on ESPN3 beginning at 9 a.m. The singles final is tentatively scheduled for 10:30 a.m., pending the ending of the women’s final. Tournament information is available at www. Seminoles.com. For team updates, visit www.GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team on Twitter (@GamecocksOnline.com).
Head Coach Josh Goffi
“As a coach, you couldn’t ask for anything more than to have both your guys in the finals. We’ve been working all fall to reach this level of play and to do it in this setting is pretty remarkable. Both guys have gotten better with each match throughout the tournament and are playing really good tennis right now. Tomorrow will be interesting for obvious reasons, but our goal is to have both guys bring it, compete to their fullest and let the chips fall where they may.”
Singles ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Gold
QF (7) Gabriel Friedrich (SC) def. Giovani Samaha (Troy), 6-3, 6-2
QF Harrison O’Keefe (SC) def. Jimmy Bendeck (BU), 6-2, 7-6 (4)
SF (7) Gabriel Friedrich (SC) def. Guilherme Hadlich (Pepperdine), 6-3, 6-4
SF Harrison O’Keefe (SC) def. Pedro Iamachkine (Pepperdine), 6-4, 6-3
Cons. Alex Fennell (SC) def. Inaki Espindola (UCF), 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (6)
Singles ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Garnet
QF (1) Tomas Hanzlik (PSU) def. Wood Benton (SC), 6-4, 6-3
Cons. Sam Swank (SC) def. Lucas Gonzalez (USA) 6-4, 6-1
Doubles ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Gold
SF (2) Hadlich/Sidney (Pepperdine) def. (4) Friedrich/O’Keefe (SC), 8-4
Doubles ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Garnet
SF (3) Donohue/Morin (Louisville) def. Benton/Dennis (SC), 8-3
Singles ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Gold
Finals (7) Gabriel Friedrich (SC) vs. Harrison O’Keefe (SC)