Winthrop Advances To Big South Championship Match

Posted April 18, 2018 7:45 am | Filed under Featured, Sports, Winthrop Athletics

ROCK HILL, S.C. – No. 1 seed Winthrop men’s tennis (13-7, 7-0 Big South Conference) took a dramatic 4-3 victory over No. 5 seed Longwood (13-9, 3-4 Big South Conference) in the semifinals of the Big South Championship to advance to the championship finals for a league-leading 17th time. The Eagles last advanced, and also won, the tournament title in 2015 and own seven Big South tournament championships in program history, the most in the league.

-The Eagles took the doubles point for the 12th time this season with wins on courts two and three.

Gabriel Dias and Joshua Ryan, now playing at No. 2 after spending the bulk of the season undefeated at No. 3, bounced back from an 0-2 start to go up 4-3 on a break, then go on to win 6-3.

-With a Longwood win at No. 1, the point would come down to Connor Williamson and Aditya Gokhale at No. 3, who also got off to a slow start down 1-3, but would come back to tie it 3-3 on a break and go up 5-3 on another break. Gokhale would secure the doubles point on his serve with a huge overhead volley on match point.

-Longwood tied up the team score with a win at No. 1 singles, but the Eagles pulled back ahead with dominant straight-set wins at No. 5 and No. 6 by Gabriel Dias and Joshua Ryanfinishing within minutes of each other to go up 3-1.

-The Lancers answered with their own straight-set wins at No. 4 and No. 2 to even the team score at 3-3 and send all eyes to court four for the match decision, with only one full set played.

-At No. 4 against the Big South’s winningest singles player Julian Farthing, Leandros Pappayiannis battled all the way back from down 1-4 in the first set to go up 6-5 on a break, then head to a tiebreak, which he would take 8-6. Pappayiannis once again found himself in an 0-3 hole starting the second set, but patiently climbed back. The junior from Cyprus was trailing at 3-5, but held serve to draw the margin to 4-5, then earned a huge break game to tie the set at 5-5. Another hold and Pappayiannis took his first lead of the set at 6-5. Farthing would tie the set at 6-6 to force another tiebreak. Farthing gained a 5-3 lead in the tiebreak, but Pappayiannis won four-straight points, including two double faults by Farthing, to claim the 7-5 tiebreak win and spark a dramatic on-court celebration with his teammates.

-The win marked the first in his past eight matches for Pappayiannis, who had lost seven-consecutive matches and had only won two singles matches on the season previously.

Gabriel Dias has won seven-straight singles matches.

Joshua Ryan has won three-straight singles matches, two in straight-sets.

No. 1 Winthrop advances to the championship final on Weds., Apr. 18 at 2 p.m., taking on the winner of the second semifinal match, either No. 2 Campbell or No. 6 Gardner-Webb.

1. BLASCO, Amadeo (LWUM) def. QUIROZ, Diego (WIN) 6-3, 6-4
2. POPESCU, Valentin (LWUM) def. MITCHELL, Tremayne (WIN) 6-4, 6-4
3. SAKAI, Raisei (LWUM) def. WILLIAMSON, Connor (WIN) 6-1, 6-3
4. PAPPAYIANNIS, L. (WIN) def. FARTHING, Julian (LWUM) 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5)
5. DIAS, Gabriel (WIN) def. GODOY, Jorge (LWUM) 6-2, 6-1
6. RYAN, Joshua (WIN) def. HERNANDEZ, Daniel (LWUM) 6-3, 6-2

1. BLASCO, Amadeo/SAKAI, Raisei (LWUM) def. QUIROZ, Diego/MITCHELL, Tremayne (WIN) 6-4
2. DIAS, Gabriel/RYAN, Joshua (WIN) def. GODOY, Jorge/POPESCU, Valentin (LWUM) 6-4
3. WILLIAMSON, Connor/GOKHALE, Aditya (WIN) def. HERNANDEZ, Daniel/FARTHING, Julian (LWUM) 6-3


Monday, April 16 – Quarterfinals
Match 1:  No. 1 Winthrop vs. No. 8 Radford, 8 a.m. – Winthrop, 4-0
Match 2:  No. 4 Liberty vs. No. 5 Longwood, 11 a.m. – Longwood, 4-3
Match 3:  No. 2 Campbell vs. No. 7 UNC Asheville, 2 p.m. – Campbell, 4-1
Match 4:  No. 3 Presbyterian vs. No. 6 Gardner-Webb, 5 p.m. – Gardner-Webb, 4-3

Tuesday, April 17 – Semifinals
Match 5:  No. 1 Winthrop vs. No. 5 Longwood, 10 a.m. –Winthrop, 4-3
Match 6:  No. 2 Campbell vs. No. 6 Gardner-Webb, 2 p.m.

Wednesday, April 18 – Championship 
Match 7:  No. 1 Winthrop vs. Match 6 winner, 2 p.m.