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Feb. 6, 2005


Davidson, N.C. – Carolina’s men’s tennis team defeated Davidson 4-1 Sunday evening to earn a sweep of Sunday’s matches against Charlotte and the Wildcats. USC (4-0, 0-0 SEC) dropped the first doubles match, but went on to win the next five doubles and singles matches to earn the Gamecocks’ 30th win all-time against Davidson (2-4, 0-0 SoCon).

USC sophomore Pedro Rodrigues was paired with sophomore Dmitry Babenko for the second straight match on Sunday, but couldn’t quite earn their second doubles victory, falling 8-6 to Davidson’s Russ Burns and Joe Cheaney. Jaime Cuellar and Geraldo Knorr improved their season doubles record to 3-0, downing Daniel Bermeo and John Bolton 8-5. USC’s only senior, Ben Atkinson, teamed up with freshman Thomas Stoddard to defeat Jay Chitty and Flav Simihaian 8-4.

Rodrigues, Carolina’s only nationally ranked player, rebounded from a singles loss against Charlotte earlier in the day, to easily defeat Simihainan at the No. 1 position, 6-4, 6-2. Rodrigues replaced junior Tom Eklund at the No. 1 slot for the third straight match. Eklund, who did not make the trip to Davidson, suffered a back injury in the first set of his two set singles victory over East Carolina last weekend. At No. 2 singles, Knorr improved his singles record to 3-1 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over John Bolton. The win was Knorr’s second singles win and fourth overall win of the day.

The best match of the day, in either contest, was the clinching match for Carolina against the Wildcats. The match was at No. 3 singles, and featured USC’s Cuellar and Charlotte’s Burns. Burns, jumped out to a quick lead, taking the first set 6-1. Cuellar looked to be in danger of losing his first match of the spring season, down a set and down 5-1 in the second. However, with Burns serving at 40-15, with two match-points, Cuellar suddenly came to life. He fought off the match-points, forced the game to deuce, and eventually broke Burns to 5-2. Cuellar then fought off another match-point later in the set, before taking the set 7-6 (7-5). The second set took up most of the two hours and 15 minutes required to complete the match. After coming from behind to win the second set, Cuellar completed the comeback, easily winning the deciding set 6-1. The match was the second three-set victory of the day for Cuellar (10-6 in singles), who is now a combined 8-0 in singles and doubles this spring.

USC returns to the court on Thursday, Feb. 10, when they travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on the UNC Tar Heels. The match with UNC will be the fifth of six straight and seven overall matches for Carolina against schools from North Carolina. The 39th-ranked Gamecocks come home next weekend, Feb. 12-13, to take on Elon, Wofford, and Samford in a weekend triple-header. The Elon match, rescheduled from Jan. 23, is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. The Wofford and Samford matches, the third of four doubleheaders scheduled this season, is slated to begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13. All three matches next weekend will take place at the USC Indoor Facility.

Final Score:
#39 South Carolina (4-0, 0-0 SEC) 4
Davidson (2-4, 0-0 SoCon) 1

Russ Burns/Joe Cheaney (D) def. Pedro Rodrigues/Dmitry Babenko (SC) 8-6
Jaime Cuellar/Geraldo Knorr (SC) def. Daniel Bermeo/John Botlon (D) 8-5
Ben Atkinson/Thomas Stoddard (SC) def. Jay Chitty/Flav Simihaian (D) 8-4
South Carolina wins doubles point

#110 Pedro Rodrigues (SC) def. Flav Simihaian (D) 6-4, 6-2
Geraldo Knorr (SC) def. John Bolton (D) 6-4, 6-2
Jaime Cuellar (SC) def. Russ Burns (D) 1-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-1
David Bermeo (D) def. Ben Atkinson (SC) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Adam Adler (SC) vs. Jay Chitty (D) 6-7 (susp.)
Dmitry Babenko (SC) vs. Joe Cheaney (D) 3-2 (susp.)