COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 8 South Carolina men’s tennis powered out a 4-0 win over South Carolina State in NCAA Championships first-round action Friday afternoon at Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks improved to 20-6 on the season and will face No. 18 Florida State in the second round on Sat., May 6, at 2 p.m. at Carolina Tennis Center, weather permitting.
South Carolina took the early lead with a pair of efficient doubles victories, beginning at the top of the lineup with top-ranked Toby Samuel and Connor Thomson posted a 6-2 win, followed closely by Casey Hoole and Raphael Lambling sealing the point with a 6-3 victory out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
In singles, it was the second half of the lineup that went to work early with Lambling, Hoole and Lucas da Silva staking out early leads in the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 positions, respectively. The freshman da Silva was the first to add a point to the board in his NCAA Championships debut, yielding just two games across his straight-set win over Pedro Sasso.
No. 102 Hoole made it a 3-0 Gamecock lead minutes later with his 6-2, 6-3 win over Benjamin Niv on Court 5, sealing the win with a big forehand return. No. 122 Lambling closed out the victory when his service winner gave him a 6-4, 6-2 win over Rostislav Haflinger on Court 4.
The Gamecocks are back in action on Saturday, facing No. 18 Florida State, which advanced with a 4-0 win over No. 43 Baylor Friday morning. South Carolina is 8-5 all-time against the Seminoles, but the programs have not faced each other since 2006. The two have met once before in NCAA Tournament action with Florida State taking a 4-2 win in the 1996 regional semifinal played at Clemson (5/10/96).
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#8 South Carolina 4, South Carolina State 0
Doubles (order of finish 1, 3)
1. (1) Samuel/Thomson (SC) def. Benchakroun/Niv (SCST) 6-2
2. Haflinger/Sasso (SCST) led (48) Beasley/Story (SC) 5-4 suspended
3. Hoole/Lambling (SC) def. Bankou/Novakovic (SCST) 6-3
Singles (order of finish 6, 5, 4)
1. (10) Toby Samuel (SC) led Aissa Benchakroun (SCST) 7-5, 3-2 suspended
2. (16) Connor Thomson (SC) vs. Novak Novakovic (SCST) 2-6, 6-1, 1-1 suspended
3. Mikalai Bankou (SCST) led (116) James Story (SC) 7-5, 1-4 suspended
4. (122) Raphael Lambling (SC) def. Rostislav Haflinger (SCST) 6-4, 6-2
5. (102) Casey Hoole (SC) def. Benjamin Niv (SCST) 6-2, 6-3
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