Gamecocks Fall to No. 9 North Carolina in NCAA Second Round
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (USC SID) – No. 20 South Carolina forced long rallies as planned but fell 4-1 to No. 9 North Carolina in NCAA Tournament second-round action Saturday afternoon. No. 49 Gabriel Friedrich posted the singles win of the day, topping No. 22 Ronnie Schneider at the top of the lineup.
The Tar Heels took the doubles point with early breaks in the top two matches, but the Gamecocks were ready to take up the challenge in singles.
Friedrich took it to Schneider early with a 3-0 lead that stretched to 5-1 with a second service break. As Friedrich was closing out his first set 6-1, his teammates began to feel the momentum shift. In the No. 3 match, Andrew Schafer got back on serve at 4-4 by breaking No. 116 Robert Kelly at Love. Yancy Dennis won four straight games for a 5-2 lead over Simon Soendergaard in the No. 4 match, and Alex Fennell got a break for a 4-2 lead over Jack Murray at No. 5.
The Tar Heels answered by winning first sets in the Nos. 2 and 6 matches. Schafer and Kelly battled to a tiebreak that started off well for Schafer, whose crosscourt backhand winner gave him an early 2-0 lead, but Kelly found his range and took the first set 7-6 (2) to give North Carolina its third first-set win after Soendergaard had rallied back to top Dennis 7-5 in the No. 4 match.
North Carolina took a 2-1 lead with a win in the No. 2 match as a tough 6-4, 6-4 battle went to No. 16 William Blumberg over No. 71 Harrison O’Keefe. Dennis, Fennell and Jubb were fighting back on the lower courts of Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center, although the battle was from early deficits.
Dennis trailed 5-1 in the second before winning three straight games to put Soendergaard on notice, and Jubb held off Blaine Boyden serving for the match to get to 4-5 in his second set. The Gamecock freshman followed with a tough service game that saw his last two shots go wide by inches to give Boyden the 6-2, 6-4 win. Soendergaard similarly fought through Dennis’ comeback bid to serve out the No. 4 match 7-5, 6-4.
While the team season ends with the loss, a trio of Gamecocks will travel to Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Individual Championships. Friedrich will compete in singles and the Gamecocks’ 13th-ranked doubles team of O’Keefe and Dennis will play in the doubles event.
For more information on South Carolina men’s tennis, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram at gamecockmtennis or check in at GamecocksOnline.com.
SINGLES (1, 2, 6, 4)
- #49 Gabriel Friedrich (SC) def. #22 Ronnie Schneider (NC) 6-1, 6-3
- #16 William Blumberg (NC) def. #71 Harrison O’Keefe (SC) 6-4, 6-4
- Andrew Schafer (SC) vs. #116 Robert Kelly (NC) 6-7 (2), 2-4 suspended
- Simon Soendergaard (NC) def. Yancy Dennis (SC) 7-5, 6-4
- Alex Fennell (SC) vs. Jack Murray (NC) 6-7 (3), 1-2
- Blaine Boyden (NC) def. Paul Jubb (SC) 6-2, 6-4
DOUBLES (1, 2)
- #12 William Blumberg/Robert Kelly (NC) #13 Harrison O’Keefe/Yancy Dennis (SC) 6-4
- #82 Jack Murray/Simon Soendergaard (NC) def. Alex Fennell/Gabriel Friedrich (SC) 6-4
- Paul Jubb/Thomas Mayronne (SC) led Anu Kodali/Ronnie Schneider (NC) 5-4 suspended