Men’s Tennis Closes Season With a Top-25 Win, Earns No. 4 Seed in SEC Tournament
Columbia, S.C. – No. 9 South Carolina men’s tennis defeated No. 21 Florida 5-2 to close out the regular season at the Carolina Tennis Center on Sunday. The Gamecocks claimed the doubles point and won four of the six singles matches in the victory.
In doubles, the courts finished in order with the Gators striking first. The nation’s No. 6 pair of Axel Nefve and Will Grant defeated No. 1 Connor Thomson and Toby Samuel 6-2, but South Carolina evened things with No. 51 Jake Beasley and James Story winning their court 6-3.
All eyes turned to the No. 3 doubles position where Raphael Lambling and Casey Hoole were already up a break on their opponents. The Gamecock pair broke the Gators on their first service game to go up 3-0 and held their lead throughout, winning it 6-3 to clinch the doubles point.
Play moved to singles where No. 9 Samuel was quick to add to the Gamecocks’ lead. The junior gave up a break on his second service game to fall 1-2 early, but took the break back at deuce the very next game to tie it back up at 2-2. Samuel went on to earn another break late in the set to take it 6-3 over No. 41 Nefve. The Gamecock returned in the second set and completely shut out his opponent, claiming the set 6-0 for the victory.
The Gators were next to claim a singles point with Tanapatt Nirundorn defeating Beasley 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 6 position.
No. 17 Thomson was next to complete his match. The junior was relentless through his first set, taking it 6-2, but his opponent, No. 83 Will Grant, fought back in the second set to go up 3-0 early. Thomson was finally able to take his own service game and won the following game with a break at deuce to tie the set up at three all. The junior carried that momentum the rest of the way through, claiming the final three games to win it 6-3.
The Gamecocks held the match lead 3-1 but it was still anyone’s for the taking with all three remaining singles matches headed to third sets.
No. 102 Hoole was the one to finally clinch the match for the team. He used an early break to take his first set 6-3, but his opponent was able to claim the second set 6-4 to even things up. In the final set, the Gator served first and each player took their own service games through the first four when Hoole was able to achieve a break to take his first lead of the set 3-2. He carried his lead throughout and was able to close out the match with a 6-3 final set.
No. 120 Lambling was next to complete his match in a come-from-behind victory. The graduate gave up his first set 2-6, but battled back to take the second 6-2. In the final set, his opponent served first but Lambling made a statement early, breaking him on his first serve to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The Paris, France, native was able to carry that lead throughout, taking the final set 6-3 for the win.
The Gators took the final singles match of the day with No. 106 Jonah Braswell defeating James Story 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
The win marks South Carolina’s second consecutive top-25 victory and finalizes the regular season with a 19-5 overall record and 8-4 mark in conference play.
With the regular season completed, final seeding for the SEC Tournament was determined. The Gamecocks will earn a double-bye and enter as the No. 4 seed.
South Carolina will know their opponents after the second day of competition and their quarterfinal match will take place on Fri., April 21, at 6:00 p.m.
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).
#9 South Carolina 5, #21 Florida 2
Doubles (order of finish: 1, 2, 3)
- #6 Axel Nefve/Will Grant (UF) def. #1 Connor Thomson/Toby Samuel (SC) 6-2
- #51 Jake Beasley/James Story (SC) def. Nate Bonetto/Tanapatt Nirundorn (UF) 6-3
- Casey Hoole/Raphael Lambling (SC) def. Lukas Greif/Jonah Braswell (UF) 6-3
Singles (order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 5, 4, 3)
- #8 Toby Samuel (SC) def. #41 Axel Nefve (UF) 6-3, 6-0
- #17 Connor Thomson (SC) def. #83 Will Grant (UF) 6-2, 6-3
- #106 Jonah Braswell (UF) def. James Story (SC) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
- #120 Raphael Lambling (SC) def. Lukas Greif (UF) 2-6, 6-2, 6-3
- #102 Casey Hoole (SC) def. Nate Bonetto (UF) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
- Tanapatt Nirundorn (UF) def. Jake Beasley (SC) 6-3, 6-2