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Samuel, Thomson Learn Matchups for NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships
Men's Tennis  . 

Samuel, Thomson Learn Matchups for NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships

Orlando, Fla. – South Carolina men’s tennis juniors Toby Samuel and Connor Thomson learned their opponents in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships with the release of both brackets today. The events in Orlando, Fla., begin on Mon., May 22 and will be aired on the Cracked Racquets YouTube channel.

In the 64-player singles event, both Samuel and Thomson enter as No. 9-16 seeds. Samuel will face Karlis Ozolins of Illinois in his first-round match on Monday at 11:30 a.m. Ozolins is currently ranked No. 23 in the ITA Singles Rankings.

Thomson will have another shot at No. 28 Pierre-Yves Bailly of Texas in his first round matchup. The two competitors faced in the NCAA Quarterfinal dual match, but their match went unfinished. Play was close with Bailly taking the first set in a tiebreaker and the two players even in the second set when play was suspended.

The 32-team doubles event will start on Tues., May 23, with No. 1 overall seed Samuel and Thomson taking on Ozan Baris and Max Sheldon of Michigan State. Baris and Sheldon are currently ranked No. 10 in the ITA Doubles Rankings. Times for doubles matches will be announced at a later date.

Samuel and Thomson extend the Gamecocks’ streak of having a seeded singles entry in the NCAA Championships to four straight tournaments. During the 2019 event, fifth-seeded Paul Jubb went on to win the title and in 2021 Daniel Rodrigues was the No. 2 seed and went on to be the tournament runner-up.

Samuel, who is making his NCAA Singles Tournament debut, has had a career season, climbing throughout the rankings, peaking at a new career-high of No. 3. He is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation and enters the event with a 24-5 overall record. He is well-tested, having played at the No. 1 position in dual matches where he went 19-4. Overall, Samuel went 15-5 against ranked opponents, including tallying three wins over top-10 opponents with the highest coming over then-No. 5 Ethan Quinn of Georgia who is the tournament’s No. 2 seed. Samuel is riding a three-match singles win streak into the tournament.

Thomson has also tallied an impressive record this season, leading the team with a 33-6 overall record and a 20-4 mark in dual play. Thomson went 12-3 against ranked opponents and enters the tournament on a five-match singles win streak. Currently ranked No. 16 by the ITA, Thomson has been ranked as high as No. 5 this season and has also recorded a trio of top-10 ranked wins this season. He enters the singles tournament on a five-match win streak.

Together, the pair of Gamecocks has held the No. 1 spot in the ITA Doubles Rankings for all but one week of the regular season. In the fall, Samuel and Thomson became the program’s first ITA All-American Champions after winning the doubles title at the event, working their way through five opponents, with four of them ranked in the top-30. They are 24-5 overall together and tallied a 17-5 mark in dual play, all from the No. 1 position. The duo went 12-4 against ranked opponents including wins over four top-10 wins.

As No. 9-16 seeds in singles and as the No. 1 overall seed in doubles, both Samuel and Thomson will be named ITA All-Americans in both disciplines. Those honors will be officially awarded following the conclusion of the Championships. Thomson already has one All-America honor under his belt, having earned the accolade in doubles last season.

More information on the NCAA Championships including draws, fan information, and streaming information can be found on the Tournament Central webpage.

For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).