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Men's Tennis  . 

Gamecock Doubles Make History with Round of 16 Win

The Gamecocks trip to the quarterfinals is the furthest that a South Carolina doubles pair has ever been in the NCAA Championships.

Champaign, Ill. – South Carolina men’s tennis doubles pair Connor Thomson and Daniel Rodrigues advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships on Wednesday night. The duo took down No. 25 Authur Fery and Alexandre Rotsaert of Stanford 6-2, 7-6(5). The Gamecocks trip to the quarterfinals is the furthest that a South Carolina doubles pair has ever been in the NCAA Championships.
 
Play was moved indoor for doubles due to rain but the weather didn’t slow down the Gamecocks. Rodrigues and Thomson started their match evenly against the Stanford duo with each pair taking their own service games through the first five. While up 3-2, the South Carolina pair took off, earning back-to-back breaks to close out the first set 6-2.
 
The Gamecocks had to fight from behind for their second set win. The set started out similar to the first with each team taking their own service games through the first six. The Cardinal pair finally earned a break at three-all to take their first lead of the match. They won their next service game to go up 5-3. Rodrigues and Thomson fought their way back from behind, responding with a three-game run to return the lead to their favor 6-5. Stanford refused to give in, taking their next game to force a tiebreak.
 
The tiebreak was back and forth with Stanford earning the first point and the Gamecocks battling back with two points of their own for the early lead. Fery and Rorsaert again pushed back to take a lead at 4-3, but Rodrigues and Thomson tied it up at four all and again at five all. The Gamecock duo earned a much needed break to go up 6-5 and Rodrigues served for what would be the deciding point.
 
The junior sent a powerful serve straight up the middle that was returned by Fery. Thomson was in the perfect position to lay the ball just on the other side of the net. Fery made a desperate attempt to return it wasn’t able to get enough control, sending the ball beyond the service line to give the Gamecocks the set 7-6(5).
 
Rodrigues and Thomson advancing to the quarterfinals is the furthest that a Gamecock doubles pair has ever gone in the NCAA Championships. Previously, the furthest a doubles pair had advanced was to the Round of 16 which had been done four times previously.
 
In Wednesday morning’s singles competition, weather conditions weren’t ideal to with overcast skies and sustained winds over 20 mph. Rodrigues served first in his match versus No. 39 Inaki Montes de la Torre of Virginia. Both players struggled to combat the winds, each giving up their first service game to start the match. The Gamecock was first to adjust to the conditions and was able to go on a three game run to put his score up 4-1. With both players getting adjusted, the match continued with each taking their service games and Rodrigues winning the set 6-3.
 
Montes de la Torre served first to start the second set and got off to a strong start, breaking Rodrigues to go up 3-0. The Gamecock junior battled back, to take his next service game and a break but the Cavalier responded with another three-game run to take the set 6-2.
 
With the match evened, Montes came out swinging, running the score up 5-0 in his favor before Rodrigues could get on the board. Rodrigues made an attempt at a late comeback, winning two straight games, but the deficit was too large to come back from, giving Montes the set 6-2.
 
The Funchal, Portugal native ends the season with a 27-5 singles record with 20 wins over ranked opponents. His .844 winning percentage this season ranks at 13th place for best in a season. His journey to the Round of 16 qualifies him for ITA All-American status in singles, his second straight season of earning the honor.  
 
Overall in his career, Rodrigues is 108-32 in singles with a .771 winning percentage. His career singles winning percentage is good for eighth place in the program record book. Rodrigues’ 108 singles wins give him the sixth most career singles win in program history.
 
Rodrigues and Thomson will continue in the Doubles Championships tomorrow, taking on No. 3 Jake Finn Bass and Svewn Lah of Baylor. Match times will be announced at a later time.
 
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).
 
NCAA Singles Championship Results
(39) Montes de la Torre (UVA) def. (1) Rodrigues (SC) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
 
NCAA Doubles Championship Results
(18) Rodrigues/Thomson (SC) def. (25) Fery/Rotsaert (Stanford) 6-2, 7-6(5)
 

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