STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 18 South Carolina rallied but came up just short in a 4-2 loss to No. 21 Memphis in the first match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend event hosted by Mississippi State at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Gamecocks (2-1) pushed past early deficits in singles but saw the Tigers deliver late to put South Carolina in Sunday's consolation match.
The doubles point came down to a tiebreak between the top two teams on the court. South Carolina opened with a 6-2 in in the No. 2 match from Tsvetan Mihov and Thiago Pinheiro, but the Tigers answered with a 6-3 win in the No. 3 match. At the top of the lineup, No. 24 Chip Cox and Kyle Koch were matching the nation's No. 3 tandem of David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury game-for-game. Tied at 5-5, the match went into a tiebreak to settle the opening team point of the match. Again, the two ranked duos traded points evenly until 5-5 when the Memphis pair scored the last two points to secure the 6-5 (5) win.
In singles, the Tigers came out strong, but the Gamecocks were up for the battle. While South Carolina freshman Andrew Schafer, ranked No. 91 in the country, stormed out to an early lead in his match, his teammates fell behind with early breaks on three of the other five courts. While the Tigers cruised to first-set wins in the Nos. 1, 3 and 4 matches, Koch and Cox both took their first sets into a tiebreak. No. 103 Koch fell behind No. 56 Salisbury early to drop his set 6-5 (3) in the No. 2 match, but Cox pushed past Ian Chadwell in the No. 5 match with 6-5 (4) first-set win.
The set win on Court 5 and the point scored by Schafer with his 6-1, 6-1 close out of O'Hare in the No. 6 match re-energized the Gamecocks across the board. At the top of the lineup, No. 41 Mihov took the second set from No. 49 Connor Glennon 6-3 to force a third set on Court 1. Adam similarly turned the tables on No. 87 Johnny Grimal in the No. 3 match, claiming the second set 6-4 behind a late service break.
Memphis went up 2-1 with a win in the No. 4 match, as David O'Leary topped Pinheiro 6-2, 6-4. Glennon sprinted into his third set with Mihov, putting the Gamecock senior on the back foot early and putting the Tigers up 3-1 with a 6-1 third set victory. Cox and Chadwell went to another tiebreak in the second set, and again the Gamecock senior delivered in the clutch, making it a 3-2 match with a 6-5 (2) second-set win.
On the last two courts, Adams was up a break on Grimal in the No. 3 match, but Koch suffered a late service break to fall to Salisbury 6-4, which sealed the win for Memphis.
The Gamecocks will be back on court Sunday at 11 a.m. (ET) to take on either No. 13 Mississippi State or No. 26 Harvard in the consolation match.
#21 Memphis 4, #18 South Carolina 2
Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. (3) David O'Hare/Joe Salisbury (UM) def. (24) Chip Cox/Kyle Koch (SC) 6-5 (5)
2. Thiago Pinheiro/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. Connor Glennon/Cedric De Zutter (UM) 6-2
3. Ian Chadwell/Honny Grimal (UM) def. Andrew Adams/Andrew Schafer (SC) 6-3
Singles (Order of Finish: 6, 4, 1, 5, 2*)
1. (49) Connor Glennon (UM) def. (41) Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
2. (56) Joe Salisbury (UM) def. (103) Kyle Koch (SC) 6-5 (3), 6-4
3. Andrew Adams (SC) led (87) Johnny Grimal (UM) 1-6, 6-4, 3-0 suspended
4. David O'Leary (UM) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-2, 6-4
5. Chip Cox (SC) def. Ian Chadwell (UM) 6-5 (4), 6-5 (2)