No. 20 Gamecocks Advance with 5-0 Win over ETSU
May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — No. 20 South Carolina delivered on the key points in the match to score a 5-0 win over East Tennessee State in the opening round of NCAA Tournament play at Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday afternoon. Highlighted by senior Andrew Schafer logging his 100th career singles victory, the Gamecocks finished their final two matches within seconds of each other with Alex Fennell’s three-set win at No. 5 sealing the team’s 21st victory of the season.
The Gamecocks (21-6) bounded into doubles action with the Nos. 1 and 3 teams scoring early breaks to set the tone en route to commanding victories. Paul Jubb and Thomas Mayronne kept their foot on the gas, winning the first five games of their No. 3 match with Wenceslao Albin and David Gonazalez and cruising to a 6-1 win. At the top of the order, No. 13 Harrison O’Keefe and Yancy Dennis took advantage of a break at 2-0 to establish an early advantage and closed the match on a service break for a 6-2 win that officially put South Carolina on the board heading into singles action.
Schafer similarly set the tone early in singles, establishing a quick 3-1 lead over Diego Nunez in the No. 3 match as the Gamecocks went on to win four of six first sets. The last of those came with O’Keefe battling out a 7-6 (6) tiebreak over Robert Herrera in the No. 2 spot.
Dennis and Jubb also took their first sets in the Nos. 4 and 6 matches, respectively. After Schafer closed out his milestone victory, which moved him into ninth on the Gamecocks’ all-time career singles wins list, just one behind legendary Gamecock Stephane Simian in eighth place, Dennis made it a 3-0 South Carolina lead with a late break of Miguel Este for a 6-1, 6-3 victory.
In the meantime, the Nos. 5 and 6 matches were tightening. Fennell shook off his first-set setback to power home a 6-0 second-set win over Gonzalez shortly after O’Keefe wrapped up his first-set tiebreak. Jubb yielded his second set to Albin, but Fennell and O’Keefe refused to let the Bucs wrest the momentum.
O’Keefe took Herrera’s opening service game of the second set and continued to keep him under control in longer rallies throughout the set. Fennell got his break in the fourth game, pulling ahead 3-1 as Jubb began his third set on the next court.
Fennell was relentless in pursuit of his first NCAA Tournament victory since 2014, collecting another break for a 5-1 lead. O’Keefe was staying the course on Court 2, and both Gamecocks ended up serving for their matches and the team victory simultaneously. Capped by an aggressive serve that set up an easy half-volley up the line on match point, Fennell delivered the 2-6, 6-0, 6-1 win just before O’Keefe closed out a long rally to take his 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory.
The Gamecocks will face the winner of Friday’s afternoon’s match between No. 9 North Carolina and VCU on Saturday.
For more information on South Carolina men’s tennis, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram at gamecockmtennis or check in at GamecocksOnline.com.
1. David Biosca (ETSU) led #49 Gabriel Friedrich (SC) 6-3, 5-4 suspended
2. #71 Harrison O’Keefe (SC) def. Robert Herrera (ETSU) 7-6 (6), 6-4
3. Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Diego Nunez 6-3, 6-1
4. Yancy Dennis (SC) def. Miguel Este (ETSU) 6-1, 6-3
5. Alex Fennell (SC) def. David Gonzalez (ETSU) 2-6, 6-0, 6-1
6. Paul Jubb (SC) led Wenceslao Albin (ETSU) 6-4, 3-6, 5-0 suspended
DOUBLES (3, 1)
1. #13 Harrison O’Keefe/Yancy Dennis (SC) def. Diego Nunez/Robert Herrera (ETSU) 6-2
2. Alex Fennell/Gabriel Friedrich (SC) led David Biosca/Miguel Este (ETSU) 3-3 abandoned
3. Paul Jubb/Thomas Mayronne (SC) def. Wenceslao Albin/David Gonazalez (ETSU) 6-1