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Nov. 8, 2015


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ORLANDO, Fla. — South Carolina redshirt sophomore Gabriel Friedrich outlasted teammate and roommate Harrison O’Keefe, 6-3, 6-7 (0), 6-4, to win the Singles Gold Draw at the USTA Clay Court Invitational at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

“What a way to end the tournament,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “I couldn’t be more proud of Gabriel and Harrison. Both kept raising their level to trump the other’s momentum gains and, consequently, we ended up with a very high-level match at the end. They were respectful, yet extremely competitive, and that’s one of the hardest things to do when you’re playing your teammate. It’s disappointing that there had to be a loser today because both of them played great and got better throughout the match. In the end, the Gamecocks won, and it’s a great day for our program.”

After sparkling performances by both competitors throughout the weekend to reach the finals, the duo put on a show of high quality, competitive tennis for nearly two-and-a-half hours in front of an international audience on ESPN3. Friedrich jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first set before O’Keefe battled back to draw even at 2-2. Friedrich took control from there and took the set 6-3.

O’Keefe found his rhythm in the second set, jumping out to a 3-0 advantage. Friedrich, however, wouldn’t go away, pulling even at 4-4. The two went on to a second-set tiebreak with O’Keefe putting together a string of winners to take the set, 7-6 (0).

The third set was one for the ages. Digging deep into their reserves on a hot afternoon, the two went back-and-forth throughout the third set with neither giving an inch. Friedrich notched a pair of aces to take a 2-1 lead, but O’Keefe responded at each tough moment to even the set. Tied at 4-4, Friedrich held serve and then broke O’Keefe to take the win.

As a team, South Carolina put together a great weekend on the clay with a 14-4 singles record, heading into today’s All-Gamecock final in the Gold Draw. Friedrich and O’Keefe especially enjoyed success, dropping just one set between them ahead of the final match. Junior transfer Alex Fennell reached the Round of 16 in the top draw, while redshirt-freshman Wood Benton advanced to the quarterfinals of the Garnet Draw. Two of South Carolina’s three doubles teams reached the semifinals as well.

The Gamecocks will ride the momentum into the offseason before opening their spring slate Jan. 16 with a doubleheader against Presbyterian and Winthrop. Visit or follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@GamecockMTennis) for team updates.

Singles — Gold Draw
R32 (7) Gabriel Friedrich (SC) def. Marc Collado (PSU), 6-2, 6-2
R32 Harrison O’Keefe (SC) def. (3) Mariano Porter (UCF), 6-2, 6-2
R32 Alex Fennell (SC) def. (6) Marco Nunez (FSU), 6-1, 2-6, 7-5
R16 (7) Gabriel Friedrich (SC) def. Jeffrey Brown (Louisville), 6-0, 6-2
R16 Harrison O’Keefe (SC) def. Aws Laaribi (PSU), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
R16 William Little (BU) def. Alex Fennell (SC), 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
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
F (7) Gabriel Friedrich (SC) def. Harrison O’Keefe (SC), 6-3, 6-7 (0), 6-4

Singles — Garnet Draw
R64 Wood Benton (SC) def. Simon Julin (SU), 6-2, 6-1
R32 Wood Benton (SC) def. Lucas Vaz (FGCU), 6-0, 6-0
R32 Sam Swank (SC) def. Pierre-Emmanuel Fossier (SU), 6-4, 6-2
R32 Pablo Moreno (Troy) def. Yancy Dennis (SC), 6-1, 6-4
R16 Wood Benton (SC) def. (6) Inaki Espindola (UCF), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
R16 Gabe Tishman (Michigan) def. Sam Swank (SC), 6-3, 6-4
QF (1) Tomas Hanzlik (PSU) def. Wood Benton (SC), 6-4, 6-3

Doubles — Gold Draw
R16 (4) Friedrich/O’Keefe (SC) def. Gruindelingh/Jacobs (USA), 8-6
QF (4) Friedrich/O’Keefe (SC) vs. Whitehurst/Whitehurst (FSU), 8-2
SF (2) Hadlich/Sidney (Pepperdine) def. (4) Friedrich/O’Keefe (SC), 8-4

Doubles — Garnet Draw
R16 Alfonzo/Ventura (FGCU) def. (2) Fennell/Swank (SC), 8-7 (5)
R16 Benton/Dennis (SC) def. Pate/Watane (UCF), 8-3
QF Benton/Dennis (SC) vs. (1) Collado/Dolidze (PSU), 8-4
SF (3) Donohue/Morin (Louisville) def. Benton/Dennis (SC), 8-3