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Feb. 12, 2005

Final Stats

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis team defeated Elon, 6-1, on Saturday, earning their fifth victory in six matches this season, and remaining unbeaten at home. Carolina (5-1, 0-0 SEC) had little trouble with the Phoenix (1-1, 0-0 SoCon) at the USC Indoor Tennis Facility, with the exception of the No. 1 matches in singles and doubles.

In the doubles matches, the Gamecock pairs of Pedro Rodrigues and Dmitry Babenko, along with Ben Atkinson and Thomas Stoddard, both gained the lead in the fifth games of their pro sets and cruised to 8-4 victories at the No. 2 and 3 slots, respectively.

At No. 1 doubles, Carolina’s Geraldo Knorr and Jaime Cuellar faced off with Elon’s Pramote Malasitt and Austin Fenn. Knorr and Cuellar won the toss and elected to serve, leading to a quick 1-0 lead for the Gamecocks. However, Malasitt and Fenn went on a roll, winning six of the next seven games to take a 6-2 lead in the pro set. But Knorr and Cuellar didn’t give up and fought back to win seven of the next eight to win the match 9-7. The victory keeps Knorr and Cuellars’ doubles record perfect this season, at 5-0.

The match moved to singles and Knorr and Cuellar carried their momentum with them into the No. 2 and 3 singles matches, respectively. Knorr made quick work of sophomore Wilco Moggre, 6-0, 6-0. Cuellar took on Fenn in a rematch of the doubles competition, but had a much easier time in the singles, defeating the Phoenix sophomore 6-2, 6-1 in just under 30 minutes. Gamecock senior Atkinson was the next winner, clinching the match for USC with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Sebastian Bredberg on court four. As the match was winding down, Carolina juniors Adam Adler and Kazuya Otani quickly reeled off their own victories. Adler defeated Kyle Smialek 6-1, 6-1 at No. 5 singles, and Otani, a last minute replacement for Babenko at No. 6 singles, downed John Garnett 6-2, 6-0.

With the other singles matches complete, attention turned back to court one, where Rodrigues and Malasitt were dueling it out at No. 1 singles. Malasitt won the first set 6-4, and Rodrigues took the second set 6-3. In the third set, the two traded breaks and held serves back and forth for nearly 50 minutes. The set had four ties and more than a single game never separated the two players until the end. Rodrigues fought back from being down a game five times in the set, including a crucial held serve to tie the set at four games apiece. The ninth game was a marathon, and included 16 deuce points. Malasitt eventually held to take a 5-4 lead, and was able to break Rodrigues on his second break point opportunity in the next game, to win the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

The 41st-ranked Gamecocks return to action tomorrow morning when they take on the Wofford Terriers, in a match scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. The second part of Sunday’s doubleheader is against the Samford Bulldogs, and is slated for 2 p.m., pending the end of the USC-Wofford match. Both matches will take place at the USC Indoor Tennis Facility in the USC Field House. The field house is located on campus, at the corner of Whaley and Marion, directly across the street from the Eugene Stone Soccer Stadium. Admission is free and the match is open to the public.