Charlottesville, Va. – No. 5 South Carolina men’s tennis kicked off their season in dramatic fashion with a comeback win over No. 1 Virginia in Charlottesville on Sunday. The Gamecocks dropped the doubles point but were able to comeback in singles with freshman Sean Daryabeigi delivering the clinch in the third set.
The match started with doubles where the absence of two-time doubles All-American Connor Thomson was felt. The Gamecocks lost doubles quickly with Virginia taking Courts 1 and 2 in a pair of 6-1 results.
Play transitioned to singles where things looked uneasy for South Carolina after only taking first sets in three of the six matches.
The Cavaliers were able to put the first singles point on the board with No. 26 Jeffrey von der Schulenburg defeating freshman Jelani Sarr 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
Junior Casey Hoole claimed the first point of the day for the Gamecocks where he defeated Dylan Dietrich 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to cut Virginia’s lead to one. The Cavaliers were quick to increase their lead again with Mans Dahlberg defeating Carter Morgan at the No. 6 position to make it 3-1.
The Virginia one point away from the win, all Gamecocks left on court had to pull through for the win.
At the top of the lineup, Toby Samuel made the most of his first match back with the team since the 2023 NCAA Championships, defeating No. 22 Chris Rodesch in a three-set comeback 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Sophomore Lucas Andrade da Silva was the one to tie it for South Carolina. After splitting the first two sets, the Brazilian battled from down a break in the third to win it 6-3.
With the match evened, all eyes fell to Daryabeigi who was taking on senior Alexander Kiefer. The Gamecock had taken the first set 6-3 but the Cavalier claimed the second 6-4. In the deciding final set, Daryabeigi went up a break early but Kiefer broke back to even things at three all and again at four all. The senior broke again to take his first lead of the set at 5-4, but the Gamecock dug deep despite cramps to claim the next three games to win it 7-5.
South Carolina’s win over the nation’s top-ranked team marks the program’s third win over a No. 1 ranked team and second in the last three years. It is also the second time in program history that the Gamecocks have upset the nation’s No. 1 team in a road environment with the last one coming at Tennessee in 2022.
The Gamecocks will continue dual action next weekend at home with the hosting of the ITA Kickoff…