COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis is back on the courts this weekend with junior Chip Cox and sophomore Kyle Koch heading to the UTC/Steve Baras Fall Classic, which begins Friday. Sophomore Andrew Adams, ranked No. 62 in the nation, is set for the qualifying rounds of the ITA Men’s All-American in Tulsa, Okla., which starts Monday. Cox and Adams are making their season debuts, while Koch is looking to build on his consolation third-place finish at the Duke Fab Four two weeks ago.
At Chattanooga, Cox drew the top seed in the 16-player Flight 1 bracket. The junior posted 18 singles victories last seasons, including 12 in dual matches. After a solid summer season, Cox is looking to build confidence early this fall and carry that momentum into the rest of his season. In his first match, he will take on Lipscomb’s David Salazar at 9:30 a.m. Friday with the winner advancing to face either Rogerio Ribiero of East Tennessee State or Samford’s Elliott Barnwell at 1:30 p.m.
Koch has a tough draw early in the same bracket, facing second-seeded Zac Dunkle of Samford. The three-time All-SoCon selection helped his team to the regular-season conference title last season. Koch is coming off a 2-2 performance at Duke where he closed out his final victory with a hard-fought 15-13 super-tiebreak in the third set to claim third place on the consolation side of the White bracket. After the 9:30 a.m. opener between Koch and Dunkle, the winner will take on ether Tobi Menhofer of Kennesaw State or Lipscomb’s Oliver Strecker.
The duo is also the top-seeded doubles team in Flight 1 at the event. They kick off action at 8:30 a.m. Friday against Salazar and Colby Shaw of Lipscomb.
“We’re looking for Chip and Kyle to do well, playing against the top players for the other teams at the tournament,” assistant coach Matt Lucas said. “It’s Chip’s first competition this season, and I’m ready to see how his summer success carries over. Kyle has worked hard over the last two weeks on what he learned from his matches at Duke, so it will be good to see him apply that this weekend.”
Adams will put his preseason ranking to the test in one of the elite national events of the fall. After the 16 players from this weekend’s pre-qualifying rounds join the 128-player draw on Monday, the 16 players winning three rounds will advance to the 64-player main draw. Adams earned ITA Carolina Region Rookie of the Year honors last season after turning in one of the best freshman campaigns in South Carolina history. He went 28-10 in singles, including 20 dual-match wins while playing in one of the top three positions in the lineup.
“This is a great opportunity for Andrew to compete against the very best,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “After his great results last year, he worked hard over the summer to continue to improve his game. He’s looking forward to implementing those new skills and strategies, and doing it against the top 100 players in the country will be the ultimate test.”