Cox’s doubles run halted in quarters of USTA Nationals

South Carolina men’s tennis junior Chip Cox of Myrtle Beach saw his run in the USTA Boys 18 National Championships end with a loss to the event’s top-seeded doubles team in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Cox and his partner Gordon Watson of University of Florida stretched the highest-rated tandem to a third-set tiebreak, but came up just short of a semifinal berth.

“This was such a high-level match,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “Gordon and Chip came out and played very aggressive doubles from the start. I think they shocked the No. 1 seed with the style of doubles they were playing. Unfortunately, they missed a few opportunities early in the second set that could have blown the match open, and that gave the other team the confidence to push through and start competing.”

Cox and Watson had made easy work of their round of 16 opponents as the duo was hitting its stride three matches into its first tournament together. Their strong play continued with an efficient 6-1 win over Mitchell Krueger and Shane Vinsant in the first set of the quarterfinal match.

The second set was a back-and-forth battle with neither team giving an inch. A late service break gave Krueger/Vinsant the second set, 7-5, leaving the match to be decided by a super-tiebreak. Krueger and Vinsant carried the momentum of winning the second set into the tiebreak and posted a 1-0 (4) win to advance to the semifinals.

For Cox, this was his longest run in the tournament as he lost in the second round of doubles in each of the previous two years. It is also the first time he and his doubles partner have been seeded at the event, coming in as the sixth seed with Watson.

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