COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina men’s tennis returns home for its final regular-season home weekend of the season with a trio of matches at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks will square off with Auburn on Fri., April 8, at 5 p.m., before hosting a doubleheader against No. 14 Florida and South Carolina State Sunday, beginning at Noon. Parking and attendance at all home matches are free.
The Gamecocks suffered a pair of heartbreaking road losses last weekend, dropping a tight 4-3 battle to No. 44 LSU before falling to No. 10 Texas A&M, 6-1, in a match that featured a third set on five singles courts.
Auburn comes into town with an 11-10 record and 1-7 mark in the SEC after dropping a 4-3 match to No. 43 Vanderbilt on Sunday. The Gators, meanwhile, are 12-5, 7-1 in the SEC entering the weekend after a midweek loss to No. 13 Virginia. South Carolina State enters the weekend 8-6 this spring, including 2-1 in the MEAC.
Head Coach Josh Goffi: “We’ve been very focused on doubles this week. The last three or four matches we have been in great position to win. It’s not that we aren’t playing well, because we are right there. We just need to learn how to close matches now and doubles is a big part of that. If we can scratch out a doubles point, we win every single one of those matches, and it’s a different season. It’s something that this current group of guys has been struggling with, but we have put a little more emphasis on it. We have changed around some doubles teams, and we are going to try out a couple of different strategies this week to see if we can carry it out through the rest of the season and into the SEC Tournament.”of so many alumni.”
Making a Mark
In his first year of competition for South Carolina, redshirt freshman Gabriel Friedrich has shown he is fully capable of beating anyone in the SEC. The Brazilian has compiled a 4-4 record in SEC competition, all from the No. 1 position in the singles lineup. Friedrich’s individual ranking rose 27 spots in the latest ITA Rankings to No. 66 after he scored South Carolina’s highest-ranked singles victory of the season, taking down the nation’s No. 18-ranked player of Texas A&M in three sets on Sunday. Three of his four SEC wins have come against ranked opponents.
- The Tigers come in having won two of their last three contests.
- Auburn’s most reliable point has come at No. 4 singles, where it is a combined 13-5 this spring.
- Ranked singles players: Marko Krickovic (88)
- Ranked doubles tandems: Krickovic and Edward Nguyen (67)
Scouting No. 14 Florida
- The Gators have won six of their last seven matches, including three against top-25 teams.
- Florida is 4-2 on the road this season.
- Ranked in singles: Diego Hidalgo (17), Elliot Orkin (33), Chase Perez-Blanco (84), Alfredo Perez (109)
- Ranked doubles tandems: Gordon Watson and Hidalgo (3), Maxx Lipman and Orkin (58)
Scouting South Carolina State
- The Bulldogs have won three straight matches and take on North Carolina A&T State on Saturday before their match against Carolina.
South Carolina concludes its regular season with road matches at No. 35 Ole Miss and at No. 16 Arkansas next weekend before hosting the SEC Men’s Tennis Tournament April 20-24 at the Carolina Tennis Center.