Jan. 31, 2014
THE FLATS – On paper the underdogs, the Georgia Tech men’s tennis team played like heavyweights Friday evening in Atlanta, pulling off the biggest upset the Ken Byers Tennis Complex has seen by beating 17th-ranked South Carolina, 4-2.
The victory kept Tech undefeated at 4-0, and the Gamecocks (3-2) were the highest-ranked foe the Yellow Jackets have beaten since Georgia, ranked 11th, in 2011.
Sophomore Casey Kay clinched the contest with a hard-fought 6-5, 3-6, 6-5 win over South Carolina’s Thiago Pinheiro on court No. 4. The final set went into a tiebreak, in which Kay fell behind but quickly came back to win 7-5 and win the match for his team.
“To have the guy serve for the match and break him to bring it to that tiebreak, and then win it, I’m very proud,” head coach Kenny Thorne said on Kay’s fight back, “He’s worked so hard, and it was really special for him. He deserved it.”
After dropping the doubles point and the No. 6 singles match to fall behind 2-0, Tech bounced back. Sophomore Nathan Rakitt quickly finished off Tsvetan Mihov at the No. 1 spot in straight sets (6-3. 6-3) for the Yellow Jackets’ first point. Freshman Cole Feigel won a 6-4, 6-5 (8-6) match over Chip Cox at No. 5 to even the match, and junior Eduardo Segura put Tech ahead with a decisive 6-4, 6-2 win against Anthony Adams.
The match came down the No. 2 and 4 courts, where Carlos Benito and Kay took their matches long into their third sets. Benito’s match was left unfinished after Kay won, but the sophomore held a 5-4 lead in the final set when the match was clinched.
“One of the hardest fought matches I’ve ever been a part of,” said Thorne. “The momemtum swung back and forth. It was a real battle. I was proud of our guys responding and stepping up, and I think we grew a lot.”
Benito and Segura got their third win in a row in doubles with a 6-2 defeat of the 24th-ranked Gamecock pair of Kyle Koch and Cox, on court No.1. But the Jackets then dropped the No. 2 spot, as Kay and Rakitt fell 6-4 to Pinheiro and Mihov, and then the No. 3, where freshman Feigel and sophomore Anish Sharma lost a 7-5 tiebreak in a 6-5 decision to Adams and Andrew Schafer.
Tech is back in action at the Byers Complex on February 14, taking on the Auburn Tigers at 5 p.m.
Georgia Tech 4, #17 South Carolina 2Jan 31, 2014 at Atlanta, Ga. (Ken Byers Tennis Complex)
Singles competition 1. Nathan Rakitt (GT) def. #41 Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 6-3, 6-3 2. Carlos Benito (GT) vs. #103 Kyle Koch (SC) 5-6 (11-13), 6-2, 5-4, unfinished 3. Eduardo Segura (GT) def. Andrew Adams (SC) 6-4, 6-2 4. Casey Kay (GT) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-5 (8-6), 3-6, 6-5 (7-5) 5. Cole Fiegel (GT) def. Chip Cox (SC) 6-4, 6-5 (8-6) 6. #91 Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Anish Sharma (GT) 6-2, 6-0
Doubles competition 1. Eduardo Segura/Carlos Benito (GT) def. #24 Kyle Koch/Chip Cox (SC) 6-2 2. Thiago Pinheiro/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. Nathan Rakitt/Casey Kay (GT) 6-4 3. Andrew Adams/Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Cole Fiegel/Anish Sharma (GT) 6-5 (7-5)
Match Notes South Carolina 3-1; National ranking #17 Georgia Tech 3-0 Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,1,5,3,4)