Samuel Clinches Match Versus Vanderbilt on 50th Career Singles Win
Columbia, S.C. – No. 10 South Carolina men’s tennis defeated No. 41 Vanderbilt 6-1 on Friday evening. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and won five singles matches, all in straight sets. Sophomore Toby Samuel clinched the match with his 50th career singles win from the second spot in the lineup.
“We got off to good leads today,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “We maintained leads, we closed pretty well on most courts, so all-in-all a pretty sharp day for us. That’s important going into a big time match on Sunday. It’s important to have the momentum and confidence that we got from tonight’s win going into our next match.”
The Gamecocks made quick work of the Commodores in doubles to claim the point. From the No. 2 spot in the lineup, junior Raphael Lambling and sophomore James Story earned the first win of the day. The duo started quickly with a five game run before letting their opponents on the board. After ceding only one game, Lambling and Story finalized the match at 6-1.
No. 13 duo Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson earned their win over No. 80 Siim Troost and Michael Ross of Vanderbilt. Each pair won their first service game but the Gamecocks earned the first break to go up 3-1. The Commodore duo responded with a break of their own to bring the score within one game, but Rodrigues and Thomson went on a three game run to win the match 6-2. Their ranked win clinched the doubles point for South Carolina.
Play transitioned to singles where Thomson earned the first win of the day on Court 3. Marcus Ferreira of Vanderbilt served first and there were no breaks for the first half of the set. Thomson earned a break after tying the match at three all and ran away with the set, putting up two more game wins to take the first set 6-3. The Gamecock was dominant through the second set, blanking his opponent for the 6-0 win.
Lambling earned the next win to put South Carolina up 3-0. He flew through his first set with a dominant 6-0 win. The Paris, France, native started his second set even with opponent Max Freeman. Lambling was finally able to pull away after Freeman tied the match at three all. The Gamecock put up three straight game wins to take the second set 6-3.
The match clinch came from Samuel on Court 2. The sophomore jumped out to a strong lead to start the match 4-1 in the first set. His opponent Joubert Klopper wasn’t going down without a fight, winning a break and his next serve to pull the score within one at 4-3. Samuel took the next game win and Klopper resonded with one of his own. The Gamecock was able to take his next service game to win the first set 6-4. Samuel swept the second set, shutting out his opponent for the 6-0 win. This win marks the sophomore’s 50th career singles victory in just his second season as a Gamecock.
Story was next to clear his court. He had a close first set with opponent Jeremie Casabon but ultimately came out on top 6-4. The second set was even throughout. The Commodore served first and there were no breaks on either side until Story earned a break after tying at five all. The Gamecock took his next service game with ease, winning the second set 7-5.
The final Gamecock win of the day came at the top of the lineup from Rodrigues. The Funchal, Portugal native started hot, going up 5-0 to start the first set. His opponent, No. 44 George Harwell, refused the give in, claiming the next four games to bring the set back within one. Rodrigues had the advantage, winning his next service game to close out the set 6-4. The second set started even through the first five games, but Rodrigues pulled away, going up 5-2. Harwell again fought back, earning three game wins to even the match at five all. Rodrigues earned the next game win but Harwell responded with one of his own to force a tiebreaker. The Gamecock took the first point of the tiebreak and never ceded the lead, winning the second set 7-6(5). This win gives Rodrigues his eighth consecutive singles win with all eight coming over ranked opponents.
South Carolina will be in action again on Sunday to take on No. 12 Kentucky. The match will be at the Carolina Tennis Center with first serve at noon.
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(10) South Carolina 6, (41) Vanderbilt 1
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 1)
1. (13) Rodrigues/Thomson (SC) def. (80) Troost/Ross (VU) 6-2
2. Story/Lambling (SC) def. (37) Harwell/Freeman (VU) 6-1
3. Samuel/Hoole (SC) led Sisam/Casabon (VU) 4-3, unfinished
Singles (order of finish: 3, 4, 2, 5, 6, 1)
1. (3) Rodrigues (SC) def. (44) Harwell (VU) 6-4, 7-6(5)
2. (57) Samuel (SC) def. Klopper (VU) 6-4, 6-0
3. Thomson (SC) def. Ferreira (VU) 6-3, 6-0
4. Lambling (SC) def. Freeman (VU) 6-0, 6-3
5. Story (SC) def. Casabon (VU) 6-4, 7-5
6. Troost (VU) def. Morgan (SC) 6-3, 7-5