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April 3, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 17 South Carolina dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 45 Arkansas this afternoon at the USC Indoor Facility. With high winds moving the match indoors, the Gamecocks suffered their first home loss of the season to fall to 15-5 overall and 3-4 in SEC play. South Carolina had to rally back in all three doubles matches, but saw the Razorbacks (10-9, 2-5 SEC) claim the match’s first point to pave the way for the victory.

With both teams entering the match undefeated when winning the doubles point, things heated up early. The Gamecocks struggled from the opening serve, dropping their first service game of each match. In the No. 1 match, Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado earned their break back quickly, getting past Blake Strode’s service game to level the match at 2-2. The teams traded breaks two more times before the Razorback tandem of Strode and Chris Nott got past Machado’s serve to take an 8-7 lead. They went on to win that match, while the Gamecocks were battling back in the other two matches. The No. 2 duo of Pedro Campos and Ivan Cressoni picked up a break to go up 7-4 and were serving for the match, but Campos lost his game to allow the Razorback team of Matt Hogan and Dmitry Lebedev back into the match. Jaime Cuellar and Johannes Pulsfort were on the opposite tack in their No. 3 match against Matt Walters and Taylor King. The Gamecock duo was down two breaks with Arkansas serving for the match, but got a break back and held serve to pull within a game at 6-7. Arkansas would not be denied in its second attempt to close the match, however, and the 8-6 victory sealed the 1-0 lead for the Razorbacks.

In singles, Strode, ranked 13th in the nation, continued his momentum with a 6-0 first-set win over Cubas. The Gamecock junior fell behind early in the second set as well before getting back on serve with a pair of breaks to go up 3-2. Strode would not be denied, however, answering with two straight service breaks to collect a 6-3 win in the second set.

The Razorbacks took a commanding 3-0 lead moments later as Hogan topped Cuellar 6-4, 6-1 in the No. 3 match. In the No. 4 spot, South Carolina freshman Machado was poised to become for the first Gamecock to win a set as he held a 5-2 lead in his tiebreaker against Lebedev, only to see the Razorback freshman storm back to take the first set 7-6.

Arkansas finished off the victory with a 6-4, 6-2 win by Nott over Campos in the No. 2 match. Campos briefly took a 4-3 lead in the second set behind back-to-back service breaks, but Nott pushed back immediately to even the match at 4-4 en route to the victory.

With the match decided, the teams agreed to let the No. 4 match finish, while the Nos. 5 and 6 matches were changed to play just one pro set. Pulsfort scored the only point of the match for the Gamecocks with an 8-2 win over Bradwin Williams at No. 5. Tyler Tarnasky recorded an 8-4 win over Cressoni in the No. 6 spot. Machado won a second-set tie-breaker to force a tie-breaker third set. Lebedev came out on top 10-6 to win the match.

South Carolina looks to bounce back on Sun., April 5, against No. 34 LSU. Match time at Sam Daniel Tennis Center is set for 1 p.m.

No. 45 Arkansas 6, No. 17 South Carolina 1

Doubles: (Order of Finish: 1, 3)
1. Blake Strode/Chris Nott (ARK) def. (28) Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) 9-7
2. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) led Matt Hogan/Dmitry Lebedev (ARK) 7-6 suspended
3. Matt Walters/Taylor King (ARK) def. Jaime Cuellar/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 8-6

Singles: (Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2, 5, 6, 4)
1. (13) Blake Strode (ARK) def. (52) Diego Cubas (SC) 6-0, 6-3
2. Chris Nott (ARK) def. Pedro Campos (SC) 6-4, 6-2
3. Matt Hogan (ARK) def. Jaime Cuellar (SC) 6-4, 6-1
4. Dmitry Lebedev (ARK) def. Ivan Machado 7-6 (5), 6-7 (8), 1-0 (6)
5. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. Bradwin Williams (ARK) 8-2
6. Tyler Tarnasky (ARK) def. (123) Ivan Cressoni (SC) 8-4