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Men’s Tennis Advances to Programs First SEC Title Match
Men's Tennis  . 

Men’s Tennis Advances to Programs First SEC Title Match

Baton Rouge, La. – No. 24 South Carolina men’s tennis will play for the SEC Tournament title on Sunday after upsetting No. 6 Tennessee 4-2 in the semifinals on Saturday. The Gamecocks claimed the doubles point and went on to take three singles matches for the win.

In doubles, the Gamecocks took the point in dramatic fashion. The first court to finish was Court 3 who pulled off the impossible, fighting from down 1-5 to win their match 7-5. Casey Hoole and Sean Daryabeigi completed the feat over James Newton and Filip Apltauer.

There was a race between the top two courts to finish first with the Gamecocks taking a 6-5 lead on Court 1 and the Volunteers taking a 6-5 lead on Court 2.

At the No. 1 court, Toby Samuel and James Story took a 40-15 lead on break point but the nation’s No. 4 pair of Johannus Monday and Angel Diaz battled back to a deuce point. Meanwhile on the next court over, Jelani Sarr and Lucas Andrade da Silva also were facing deuce point while down 5-6.

Thankfully for the Gamecocks, Samuel and Story were first to complete their point, winning at deuce for the 7-5 upset victory that clinched the doubles point.

In singles play, the momentum shifted to Tennessee with the Volunteers taking first sets on four courts. They were also first to record a singles win with No. 2 Monday defeating No. 15 Samuel 6-1, 6-3 from the top of the lineup.

They then added on to their lead with Apltauer defeating Carter Morgan 6-1, 6-4 from the No. 6 position.

Story was finally able to get a singles point on the board for the Gamecocks thanks to his highest career ranked upset. The senior defeated No. 33 Shunsuke Mitsui in dramatic fashion after falling 1-6 in the first set tiebreaker and storming back to win the next seven points to win the set 7-6(6). He then went on in the second set to claim an early break and hold it throughout to win the second set 6-4.

The next point came from the adjacent court where Daryabeigi tallied a tight win over Chris Li. The Gamecock claimed the first in a tiebreaker 7-6(2) and took the second set 7-5 for the win.

Just minutes later, Sarr clinched the match for South Carolina with his three-set victory over Diaz. The Vol took the first set 6-2 but Sarr claimed the second 6-1 to even things.

In the final decisive set Sarr broke early for 2-1 but Diaz immediately broke back for 2-2. Both players then held serve through the next six game with Sarr finally able to find a break to go up 6-5 and serve the match out 7-5 for the win.

The win over No. 6 Tennessee is South Carolina’s second highest ranked win of the season and first top-10 win since the season opener when South Carolina upset then-No. 1 Virginia.

The trip to the title match is a program first for the Gamecocks who had previously advanced to the semifinals on three occasions. As the No. 11 seed, the Gamecocks are the lowest seed to ever make it to an SEC title match with the previous low being No. 6 seeded Mississippi State in 1991.

The title match will take place on Sunday, April 21, beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET. Spectator information can be found on the tournament webpage. For those not in attendance, the match will be aired on the SEC Network and live stats can be found here.

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

#24 South Carolina 4, #6 Tennessee 2

Doubles (order of finish: 3, 1)

  1. Toby Samuel/James Story (SC) def. #4 Johannus Monday/Angel Diaz (TENN) 7-5
  2. #83 Shunsuke Mitsui/Filip Pieczonka (TENN) vs. Jelani Sarr/Lucas da Silva (SC) 6-5, unfinished
  3. Sean Daryabeigi/Casey Hoole (SC) def. James Newton/Filip Apltauer (TENN) 7-5

Singles (order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 3, 5)

  1. #2 Johannus Monday (TENN) def. #15 Toby Samuel (SC) 6-1, 6-3
  2. James Story (SC) def. #33 Shunsuke Mitsui (TENN) 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
  3. Sean Daryabeigi (SC) def. Chris Li (TENN) 7-6 (7-2), 7-5
  4. Filip Pieczonka (TENN) vs. Lucas da Silva (SC) 6-2, 2-6, 3-5, unfinished
  5. Jelani Sarr (SC) def. Angel Diaz (TENN) 2-6, 6-1, 7-5
  6. Filip Apltauer (TENN) def. Carter Morgan (SC) 6-1, 6-4