Men’s Tennis: Vanderbilt loses 6-1 to No. 10 South Carolina

After a close loss against No. 1 Florida, Vanderbilt fell to another top-ten opponent in South Carolina on Sunday.


Vanderbilt tennis falls to No. 10 South Carolina. (Twitter/@VandyMTennis)

Jack Hollier, Staff Writer

In an uncharacteristically one-sided matchup, the Vanderbilt Commodores fell 6-1 to the No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks at home on Sunday. This match comes just after a close contest with the No. 1 Florida Gators on Friday, which the Commodores barely lost 4-3. That match stands in stark contrast to Sunday’s, in which everything seemed to go South Carolina’s way.

First, the Commodores lost the doubles point with two losses at lines one and two in doubles play. At line one, seniors George Harwell and Max Freeman fell 6-2 to South Carolina’s Daniel Rodrigues and Connor Thomson. Shortly after, Vanderbilt’s Marcus Ferreira and Adam Sraberg lost 6-3 to the Gamecocks’ Toby Samuel and Jake Beasley. Freshmen Jeremie Casabon and Connor Robb-Wilcox were leading 4-3 in a close set when the match was abandoned.

South Carolina kept its momentum going after the doubles point—the Gamecocks quickly shot ahead to leads in almost all the singles matches. Ferreira, at line two, lost the first singles match of the game against Thomson in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. He looked to be making a comeback after rallying back from 5-2 to 5-4 in the first set, but after he closed the first set out, the second set was all Thomson. 

Jeremie Casabon then dropped two sets 6-2, 6-1 to South Carolina’s Raphael Lambling at line three. Despite long rallies and competitive play, Lambling seemed to have the upper hand over Casabon the whole match. Casabon’s tough loss comes right after the biggest win of his career against University of Florida’s eighth-ranked player nationally, Andy Andrade. 

Harwell, on court one, lost again to Rodrigues in singles 6-2, 6-3. He played with tenacity, extending rallies that could have easily been lost, but he couldn’t close the deficit between them in either set. Still, Harwell’s performance is more impressive in context, considering Rodrigues is the nation’s top-ranked collegiate player in the ITA men’s singles rankings as of March 30. 

Junior Macsen Sisam had a similar experience, losing 6-3, 6-4 to the Gamecocks’ Samuel.

Freeman looked to be turning things around somewhat for the Commodores after a dominant first set, which he won 6-2. However, USC’s Beasley stormed back from a second set deficit to force a tiebreaker, which he won. Since the match had already been clinched for South Carolina, Freeman and Beasley played another tiebreaker to decide the third set, and Beasley won it 9-7, giving USC its sixth point of the day.

In Sunday’s lone bright spot, sophomore Joubert Klopper won his singles match at line six in a three-set match, 6-3, 5-7, 1-0. His third set was also decided by a tiebreaker since it was after the deciding point as well. After losing the second set, there was concern that his match would end similarly to Freeman’s, but his consistent groundstrokes and serves secured the third-set tiebreaker.

Vanderbilt has only two remaining matches in the regular season, which come against Mississippi and Ole Miss at home next weekend. The Commodores will hope to alleviate the sting of two tough losses next weekend in their final regular season matches and afterwards in the SEC Tournament.