Koch, Pinheiro Close Out Day One at Duke Fab Four
CARY, N.C. – South Carolina sophomores Kyle Koch and Thiago Pinheiro wrapped up action in the first day at the Duke Fab Four, the first men’s tennis action of the season for the Gamecocks. The duo posted a win in doubles to kick off the tournament before falling to the nation’s 16th-ranked duo in second-round action. Both suffered losses in their first singles outings but will be back in action Saturday morning in the consolation quarterfinals.
Playing doubles together for the first time, Koch and Pinheiro battled for their first-round win over Virginia Tech’s Mauricio Antun and Aaron Gomez. Both sides continually rose to the challenge, sending the match to a tiebreaker, which South Carolina’s duo claimed to advance to the semifinals of the Blue bracket. There, Koch and Pinheiro faced the host team’s top tandem in No. 16 Henrique Cunha and Raphael Hemmeier. The Blue Devils reached the finals with an 8-3 victory, sending the Gamecocks to the third-place match at 9 a.m. Saturday morning against Louisville’s Sebastian Stiefelmayer and Albert Wagner.
In singles action Friday afternoon, Koch faced off with No. 52 Alexis Heugas of VCU in the first round of play in the White bracket. Facing a ranked opponent in the first match of the season, the Gamecock sophomore showed his usual fight but saw a service break in each set result in Heugas’ 6-4, 6-4 victory. Koch will take on North Carolina’s James Coxe at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the consolation quarterfinals.
In the top bracket in the event, Pinheiro struggled to find his footing against Jason Tahir of Duke, falling 6-2, 6-0. He will face No. 70 Sebastian Stiefelmayer of Louisville in the consolation quarterfinals of the Blue bracket at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
South Carolina Results
Kyle Koch/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Mauricio Antun/Aaron Gomez (VT) 9-8
(16) Henrique Cunha/Raphael Hemmeier (Duke) def. Koch/Pinheiro (SC) 8-3
(52) Alexis Heugas (VCU) def. Kyle Koch (SC) 6-4, 6-4
Jason Tahir (Duke) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-2, 6-0