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March 6, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 31 South Carolina men’s tennis opened its SEC season with a 5-2 victory over No. 37 Vanderbilt this afternoon at Sam Daniel Tennis Facility. The Gamecocks topped the Commodores for the first time in three years and opened league play 1-0 for the second time in the last three seasons. After sweeping the doubles matches to open the match 1-0, Carolina won the first three single matches to finish with Jaime Cuellar sealing the victory in the No. 3 position.

Cuellar and partner Johannes Pulsfort won the first doubles match with an 8-4 decision over Charlie Jones and Alex DiValerio in the No. 3 position. A second-serve ace from Ivan Cressoni on match point delivered the doubles point to the Gamecocks as Cressoni and Pedro Campos defeated Nick Cromydas and Bryant Salcedo 8-5. The newly-ranked duo of Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado, ranked No. 64, saw their No. 1 doubles match against 30th-ranked Adam Baker and Alex Zotov go to a tie-breaker after the Gamecock duo came up with a service break to level the match at 8-8. With two match points to play with, Machado sliced a volley between the Commodore duo to complete the doubles sweep.

No. 64 Cubas wasted little time dispatching Cromydas at No. 1 doubles, scoring a 6-1, 6-2 victory. His doubles partner, Machado, rolled through is first set against Baker at No. 4 singles, but needed a late break of serve to go up 5-4 and serve for the second set to put the Gamecocks up 3-0. At No. 3 singles, Cuellar dropped his service game to open the match but battled back to get on serve, then cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Vijay Paul to secure the Gamecocks first SEC win of the season.

The two teams finished out the remaining three matches, although Pulsfort was forced to retire in the second set due to an ankle injury. No. 110 Cressoni suffered his first loss of the season as Zotov collected a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 6 singles. Campos fought to win his first set at No. 2 singles in a tie-breaker before cruising to a 6-0 second set victory.

The Gamecocks are back in action on Sun., Mar. 8, against No. 11 Kentucky. The match at Sam Daniel Tennis Facility has been moved up an hour from its originally scheduled time and will now begin at noon.

No. 31 South Carolina 5, No. 37 Vanderbilt 2

Doubles: (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. (64) Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) def. (30) Adam Baker/Alex Zotov (VU) 9-8 (4)
2. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) def. Nick Cromydas/Bryant Salcedo (VU) 8-5
3. Jaime Cuellar/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. Charlie Jones/Alex DiValerio (VU) 8-4

Singles: (Order of Finish: 1, 4, 3, 5, 6, 2)
1. (64) Diego Cubas (SC) def. Nick Cromydas (VU) 6-1, 6-2
2. Pedro Campos (SC) def. Bryant Salcedo (VU) 7-6 (6), 6-0
3. Jaime Cuellar (SC) def. Vijay Pual (VU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Ivan Machado (SC) def. Adam Baker (VU) 6-1, 6-4
5. Charlie Jones (VU) def. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 6-1, 4-5 retired
6. Alex Zotov (VU) def. (110) Ivan Cressoni (SC) 7-5, 6-4