March 5, 2004
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 19 South Carolina men’s tennis team rallied in singles after dropping the doubles point, but fell just short of topping No. 15 Kentucky, 4-3 in the conference opener for both teams. South Carolina (10-2, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) drops their second straight match and continues the onslaught of ranked opponents Sunday in their first road match of the season at No. 22 Vanderbilt. Kentucky (6-3, 1-0 SEC) hosts No. 3 Florida.
Pedro Rodrigues and Geraldo Knorr notched an 8-5 win at No. 2 doubles over Kentucky’s 31st-ranked Nate Emge and Tigran Martirosyan while Tom Eklund and Marcus Westman fell at No. 1 doubles, 8-2 to Jesse Witten and Rahim Esmail. At No. 3 doubles, Ben Atkinson and Carl Wermee were tied 7-7 with Kentucky’s Alex Hume and Evan Austin, but dropped the last two games to lose 9-7 and give Kentucky the doubles point.
Kentucky’s No. 1 singles Jesse Witten, ranked 14th, topped Marcus Westman 7-5, 6-0 while Evan Austin beat Carolina’s Tom Eklund at No. 2 singles, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. Carl Wermee won over 56th ranked Tigran Martirosyan at No. 3 singles, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to bring the match score to 3-1 Kentucky. Geraldo Knorr topped UK’s Emge 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 at No. 5 singles and Ben Atkinson beat the Wildcats’ Alex Hume 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6 singles to tie the match at three. However, Rahim Esmail beat USC’s Rodrigues at No. 4 singles, 6-2, 6-2 to give Kentucky the 4-3 match victory.
South Carolina now travels to No. 22 Vanderbilt in their first road match of the season. USC is now 1-2 against ranked teams this season. Vanderbilt topped No. 3 Florida 5-2 at home Friday afternoon.