SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's tennis team was tested down to the final match Sunday afternoon in its season-opener against Presbyterian College, but the Spartans fought to the final point and emerged with a 4-3 victory over the Blue Hose at the USC Upstate Tennis Complex.
Upstate (1-0) picks up a win in its season-opener for the second straight season, while the Blue Hose (0-3) drop their third straight match to open the year.
"A 4-3 win is a wonderful thing to go through this early in the season," said Upstate Head Coach Dr. Oliver Trittenwein. "For the guys to experience this kind of pressure and anxiety is going to prepare them well for the rest of the season."
The Spartans were down in all three doubles matches early, but it was the tandem of Yvon Haessig and Gonzalo Blanco that started the comeback at No. 2 doubles. The Duo found themselves down 5-4, but ran off four straight games to win 8-4 and snag the first point of the day.
Jamie Yates and Jacob Darling were not far behind at No. 3 doubles, as they knocked off Presbyterian's Nathan Crocker and Edward Snead 8-6 to clinch the singles point for the Spartans. Matthias Kidler and Viktor Selander were locked in a 7-7 battle at No. 1 singles when the point went down for Upstate.
Heading to singles action, the Spartans needed just three points to record the victory, but it would be a long time coming. Kidler got Upstate off to the right start at No. 1 singles when he made quick work of Grayson Mills, 6-4, 6-0, to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.
After Yvon Haessig and Ramon Simonetti fell in straight sets to even the match 2-2, Yates found himself down a set with all the momentum swinging towards Presbyterian. The freshman would play beyond his years for the next two sets, winning 12 of the next 16 games and rallying from way down to defeat Danny Bruce 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 and give Upstate the lead once again at 3-2.
With Blanco and Selander locked in three-set marathons and playing side-by-side, the Spartans would need to just one match to capture the victory. Blanco would eventually fall 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to William O'Connell, knotting the score at 3-3 and leaving Selander and Andrew Brigham to decide the match at No. 4 singles.
Leading 4-3 in the third set, Selander forced a break and would serve for the match and the win for Upstate. Tied 40-40 and leading 5-3 in the final set, the Lidkoping, Sweden, native forced back-to-back shots long of the baseline by Brigham to capture the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and send the Spartans into celebration.
"For Gonzalo (Blanco) to stay in his match long enough for Viktor to get a couple games ahead was big," Trittenwein said. "Viktor (Selander) is such a fighter to the end so we knew it would be in our favor if he could hold on as long as he could."
The Spartans will now make their way to the west coast for three matches in as many days in Eugene, Ore., battling Oregon (Jan. 25), Eastern Washington (Jan. 26) and Portland (Jan. 27).
"This kind of win gives us the momentum we need heading out to the West Coast," said Trittenwein.
USC Upstate 4, Presbyterian College 3
Jan 20, 2013 at Spartanburg, S.C. (USC Upstate Tennis Complex)
|1. Matthias Kidler (UPSTM) def. MILLS, Grayson (PCM) 6-4, 6-0|
|2. O'CONNELL, William (PCM) def. Gonzalo Blanco (UPSTM) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4|
|3. BERGHAUS, Rafael (PCM) def. Yvon Haessig (UPSTM) 6-4, 7-5|
|4. Viktor Selander (UPSTM) def. BRIGHAM, Andrew (PCM) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3|
|5. Jamie Yates (UPSTM) def. BRUCE, Danny (PCM) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1|
|6. ASIS, Gonzalo (PCM) def. Ramon Simonetti (UPSTM) 7-6 (8-6), 6-2|
|1. Matthias Kidler/Viktor Selander (UPSTM) vs. BERGHAUS, Rafael/MILLS, Grayson (PCM) 7-7, unfinished|
|2. Yvon Haessig/Gonzalo Blanco (UPSTM) def. BRIGHAM, Andrew/O'CONNELL, William (PCM) 8-5|
|3. Jamie Yates/Jacob Darling (UPSTM) def. CROCKER, Nathan/SNEAD, Edward (PCM) 8-6|
|Presbyterian College 0-3|
|USC Upstate 1-0|
|Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,3,6,5,2,4)|