USC Aiken, Columbus State to Meet in PBC Men’s Tennis Championship Match

USC Aiken's Antonio Sabugueiro
USC Aiken's Antonio Sabugueiro

FLORENCE, SC – Following a long day of tennis that saw all teams complete the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, Columbus State and USC Aiken are left standing and will play for the tournament title on Sunday.  Top-seeded Columbus State advances after defeating Francis Marion 4-0 in the quarterfinals on Saturday morning, then sweeping Lander 4-0 in the semifinals in the afternoon.  USC Aiken, the #2 seed, defeated Augusta 4-2 and Georgia College 4-3 in their two Saturday matches.

CSU, the #1-ranked team in the nation, scored a quick doubles point against FMU.  KP Pannu and Tommaso Schold won at #2 doubles 6-2, while Zach Whaanga and Alvaro Regalado, the top-ranked doubles team in Division II, beat FMU's Anth-Forsberg and Hutchings 6-4.

Pannu, the #1-ranked singles player in the nation, then got the first singles point for the Cougars 6-0, 6-1 over FMU's Matt Astell.  Regalado and Schold also picked up singles win to complete the sweep.

CSU used the same formula in their semifinal match with #4 Lander.  Both the Whaanga/Regalado and Pannu/Schold teams won doubles matches to capture the point.   Pannu then beat Lander's Axel Cronje 6-1, 6-2 to start singles play while Regalado and Matei Avram capture the remaining two points.

USC Aiken will make their first-ever appearance in the PBC Championship match. The Pacers captured the doubles point against Augusta as Antonio Sabugueiro and Salvador Bandeira won at #1 doubles 6-2; the same score that Tales Silva and Vicente Andrades won with at #2.

Sabugueiro and Andrades then won identical 6-4, 6-0 matches at third and fourth singles, respectively, to push the Pacer lead to 3-0.  Augusta fought back with wins by Lucas Bolle 6-4, 6-3 at #5 singles and Martin Hurtado 6-2, 6-2 at #6.  The match was decided by Silva, who defeated Augusta's Patrick Oliveira 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 to clinch.

USCA's semifinal match against third-seeded Flagler was the closest in the tournament.  Andrades and Silva notched a 6-4 win at No. 2. After the Saints won at No. 3, the fifth-ranked dyad in Division II knocked off their opponents 7-6 (7-5) to secure the point.

The Pacers fell behind 3-1 with three singles matches in progress. Bandeira pulled USC Aiken within one after claiming a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 2. Alvaro Garcia Gil dropped the first set before rallying for winning the next two stanzas, knotting the match. Garcia Gil won by scores of 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.

Sabugueiro, ranked No. 43 nationally, lost the first set 6-4 at No. 3 singles. However, he battled back to win the second frame 7-6 (7-4) to force a third set. Sabugueiro left no doubt, winning 6-3 to send USC Aiken to the PBC Championship match.

 Sunday's championship match will begin at 11:00 am from the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center in Florence, S.C.