Gamecocks Upset No. 6 Wake Forest
Columbia, S.C. – No. 13 South Carolina men’s tennis upset No. 6 Wake Forest 5-2 on Thursday. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and the next three singles matches to clinch the victory before finishing with four singles wins, including three against ranked opponents.
“That was a huge match for us,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “Wake has a storied program, Coach Tony (Bresky) has done a phenomenal job there, and we haven’t beaten them since my second year here in 2012. There was a lot on the line there; it was important for the guys to get the win today. I think both teams today played pretty tight. Ultimately it came down to competing and that’s what we do – what we pride ourselves on. That’s the Gamecock brand. That’s the Gamecock GRIT that we always talk about. That’s what our guys brought, and ultimately they got the win because of it.”
Doubles initially appeared evenly matched with the nation’s No. 34 pair from Wake taking the first doubles win over No. 53 Jake Beasley and Toby Samuel 7-5.
At the top of the lineup, No. 5 ranked duo Connor Thomson and Daniel Rodrigues made a late push to even the doubles with a 7-5 win over Wake’s Eduardo Nava and Matthew Thomson, sending the decision to Court 3.
Gamecock duo Raphael Lambling and James Story was in a tight match with No. 37 Robert Maciag and Ben Draper, getting off to a quick 3-0 start before the Demon Deacons fought back to send the match to a tiebreak.The Gamecocks took care of the tiebreak quickly, putting the match away with a score of 7-6 (2) to secure the doubles point and earn their first ranked win of the season.
In singles, No. 99 Thomson added to the Gamecocks’ score first, upsetting No. 51 Melios Efstathiou in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
Samuel was next to add to the Gamecocks lead with his first ranked win of the season, knocking off No. 71 Eduardo Nava 7-6(5), 6-4.
Lambling clinched the match for the Gamecocks, enduring a close battle in the first set. Lambling struck first but Rrezart Cungu knotted the set at 5-5. The Gamecock junior pushed back, winning the next two games to take the set 7-5, then blew through the second, 6-3, to secure the Gamecocks’ win.
Remaining matches continued with 10-point tiebreak sets. No. 14 Rodrigues picked up his fourth ranked win of the season, besting No. 99 Jurabek Karimov. The first set went to Karimov 6-4, but Rodrigues took the second set 6-2. The Gamecock junior was dominant in the tiebreak, winning it 10-3 to add to the Gamecocks’ lead.
The Gamecocks will face their first road challenge of the year on Sun., Feb. 13. South Carolina will face off against the No. 23 North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. The match will begin at 1:00 p.m.
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).
(13) South Carolina 5, (6) Wake Forest 2
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. (5) Rodrigues/Thomson (SC) def. Nava/Thomson (Wake) 7-5
2. (34) Schnaitter/Banthia (Wake) def. (53) Beasley/Samuel (SC) 7-5
3. Story/Lambling (SC) def. (37) Maciag/Draper 7-6(2)
Singles (order of finish: 3, 2, 4, 6, 1, 5)
1. (14) Rodrigues (SC) def. (99) Karimov (Wake) 4-6, 6-2, 1-0(3)
2. Samuel (SC) def. (71) Nava (Wake) 7-6(5), 6-4
3. (97) Thomson (SC) def. (51) Efstathiou 6-4, 6-3
4. Lambling (SC) def. Cungu (Wake) 7-5, 6-3
5. (35) Moroni (Wake) def. Story (SC) 7-6(5), 4-6, 1-0(6)
6. (118) Baadi (Wake) def. Morgan (SC) 7-6(8), 6-0