Simonet

FLORENCE, S.C. -- After a rain delay, the eighth-ranked and third-seeded Columbus State knocked off sixth-seeded Francis Marion 5-0 in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals Friday afternoon. The match took place at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center.

With the victory, the Cougars (16-2) advanced to the PBC tournament semifinals for the sixth consecutive season and will face off against seventh-ranked and second-seeded Lander on Saturday.

After battling through a 5-4 victory against Francis Marion earlier in the season, the Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 lead, winning all three doubles matches. CSU recorded a tone-setting victory at first doubles as Olivier Simonet and Marco Almorin upset the 16th-ranked duo of Alex Caspari and Gavin Davison 8-6. The momentum carried over to second doubles as Quentin Rayniere and Gordan Divljak defeated Eimon Heywood and Arnaud Holl 8-4. At the third spot, Danilo Sardelli and Adi Malicbegovic won 8-3 against Tim Ruepke and Marius Wahlier.

Needing just two wins to clinch the match, Columbus State got another upset victory by Simonet as he took down No. 16 Caspari 6-4, 6-4 at the top spot. Rayniere gave CSU the match with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Holl at third singles.

Despite being swept, Francis Marion (13-8) and CSU were battling in the remaining four matches. At second, fifth and sixth singles, the matches were headed into a third and decisive set. However, Almorin was just a few games away from recording a victory at fourth singles for the Cougars, leading Heywood 6-1, 5-5 when play was called.