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March 19, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina sophomore Johannes Pulsfort battled down to the final game of the final set of the final match on court to deliver a 4-3 victory over No. 18 Wake Forest for the No. 19 Gamecocks this afternoon at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center. The Gamecocks got an early spark when Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado topped the nation’s No. 1 doubles team in a tie-breaker to clinch the doubles point for South Carolina (13-3). After No. 26 Cory Parr evened the match for the Demon Deacons at 3-3 with a three-set win at No. 1 singles, the match came down to Pulsfort’s effort in the No. 6 spot.

The Gamecocks took the early lead with a hard-fought doubles point. It started when Jaime Cuellar and Pulsfort held off a late charge from Iain Atkinson and Jason Morgenstern to win the No. 3 match 8-5. Wake Forest took the No. 2 match 8-5 just as the No. 1 matchup was heating up. The Gameoccks’ duo of Cubas and Machado had stormed out to a 3-0 lead before the nation’s top tandem of Cory Parr and Steven Forman got one of the breaks back at 3-2. Still up a break at 7-6, Cubas was serving for the match when a pair of Machado volleys found the net to give the Demon Deacons the game and put the match back on serve. After Parr held serve, Machado did the same through 11 deuce points to send it to a tie-breaker. The Gamecocks got the mini-break when Forman put a forehand volley in the net, giving Carolina a 5-3 lead with Forman serving. Wake got the point back when Cubas hit a volley long on his first service point, leveling the tie-breaker at 5-5. On the next point, Parr’s lob sailed just beyond the baseline to give the Gamecocks match point. Parr served to stay in the match but saw his partner hit a forehand long for the Carolina victory.

Jon Wolff evened the match for Wake Forest with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Cuellar at No. 3 singles, and Forman put the Demon Deacons up 2-1 with a straight-set win over No. 115 Pedro Campos in the No. 2 position. After winning the first set 6-2 at No. 4 singles, Machado came back from a break down against Atkinson to send the second set to a tie-breaker. The Gamecock freshman opened a 4-1 lead but saw Atkinson rally back to 6-6 with Machado serving. Machado forced Atkinson into a pair of long forehands to collect the win and bring the Gamecocks level at 2-2 overall.

As Cubas and Pulsfort were splitting their first two sets at Nos. 1 and 6, respectively, Cressoni was battling for his second set at No. 5. The Gamecock sophomore won the first set in a tie-breaker, but dropped his first two service games of the second set to fall behind 0-3. Cressoni regrouped to hand Andrew Brasseaux a pair of service breaks and even the match at 3-3. The two stayed on serve with Cressoni leading 6-5 and Brasseaux serving to stay in the match. Carolina took a 3-2 lead in the match as Cressoni delivered the final break for the straight-set win.

Cubas, No. 50 in the country, had dominated No. 26 Parr in the first set 6-3, but could not get a service break in the second set. In the tie-breaker, an ill-timed double fault and an errant ground stroke had Cubas in an early 4-1 hole, from which he could not recover. Parr went up 2-0 in the second set with a service break only to see Cubas get even at 3-3 with a break and a hold as well. After winning his next service game, Parr got the break back to go up 5-3 and held on to win the set 6-3.

Pulsfort was serving up an equally dramatic match at No. 6 singles. After losing a first-set tie-breaker, He rolled past David Hopkins 6-2 in the second set. In the third, both players struggled to hold serve until Hopkins managed it to go up 4-3. With long rallies dominating the late stages of the match, Pulsfort held at 4-4 then had Hopkins down 0-40 in the next game. The Demon Deacon fought off two break points before dumping a forehand in the net to fall behind 4-5. Pulsfort held at love to deliver the team win for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina had nearly a week to prepare for another SEC-ACC battle when archrival Clemson visits Columbia on Wed., March 25, at 2 p.m.

No. 19 South Carolina 4, No. 18 Wake Forest 3

Doubles: (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. (29) Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) def. (1) Cory Parr/Steven Forman (WF), 9-8 (5)
2. David Hopkins/Jon Wolff (WF) def. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) 8-5
3. Jaime Cuellar/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. Iain Atkinson/Jason Morgenstern (WF) 8-5

Singles: (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 4, 5, 1, 6)
1. (26) Cory Parr (WF) def. (50) Diego Cubas (SC) 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4
2. Steven Forman (WF) def. (115) Pedro Campos (SC) 6-3, 6-4
3. Jon Wolff (WF) def. Jaime Cuellar (SC) 6-3, 6-2
4. Ivan Machado (SC) def. Iain Atkinson (WF) 6-2, 7-6 (6)
5. Ivan Cressoni (SC) def. Andrew Brasseaux (WF) 7-6, 7-5
6. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. David Hopkins (WF) 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4