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Feb. 9, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 45 South Carolina got clutch wins from Johannes Pulsfort and Alexander Kostanov in both doubles and singles to collect a 4-3 win over No. 46 NC State Tuesday afternoon at the USC Field House. The duo got a late service break to seal the doubles point for the Gamecocks (4-2) then added timely singles wins to propel their team to victory.

Nearly every point of every match was hotly contested between the two teams. South Carolina senior Pedro Campos was the lone Gamecock to seemingly cruise past the Wolfpack. He and doubles partner Ivan Cressoni jumped out to an early lead at No. 2 doubles, knocking off Dominic Hodgson and Dave Thomson 8-4. Campos went on to dispatch Rob Lowe 6-0, 6-3 in the No. 2 singles position.

After Lowe and Friderick Prandecki rallied back to knock off South Carolina’s No. 1 doubles tandem of Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado, the match’s first point rested on the racquets of Pulsfort and Kostanov in the No. 3 match. Both duos had difficulty holding serve as each picked up two service breaks in the first eight games. Kostanov finally broke the string by holding serve to go up 5-4. With the match tied at 6-6, the Gamecock freshman fell into a Love-30 hold on his next service game before the duo stormed back to hold. In the next game, a net-cord set up break point for the Gamecocks, and when Akash Gujarati netted his volley, it was the last break Pulsfort and Kostanov needed to seal the doubles point for South Carolina.

With Campos wasting little time putting the Gamecocks up 2-0 with his singles victory, Kostanov dropped his first set to Hodgson in the No. 4 spot. He rallied back to win the second set 6-2 and surged to a 5-0 lead in the third before Hodgson mounted a comeback. After suffering his second-straight service break, which brought the match back on serve at 5-4, Kostanov powered through to break Hodgson and pick up the victory.

In the No. 1 match, Jaime Pulgar was just closing out a 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over Cubas to put NC State on board. While Pulsfort was winning his first set 6-3 in the No. 4 match, Machado was fighting back from a 7-5 loss in the first set to claim the No. 3 match’s second set 6-1.

Much like their doubles match Pulsfort and Gujarati were struggling to hold serve. Machado and Hodgson were playing the opposite match with service breaks difficult to come by for both. Hodgson finally broke through to go up 3-1, then picked up another to win the set 6-2 and bring the Wolfpack within one at 3-2. Pulsfort had opened his second set with a service break, and the two traded breaks for a 4-2 Pulsfort advantage. Gujarati tried to place a drop shot out of reach on break point, but Pulsfort chased it down to claim the game and then held for a 6-2 victory.

South Carolina continues a four-match home stand on Sun., Feb. 14, with a 1 p.m. match against No. 74 Elon.


Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3)
1. Rob Lowe/Frideric Prandecki (NCSU) def. (27) Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) 9-7
2. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) def. Dominic Hodgson/Dave Thomson (NCSU) 8-4
3. Johannes Pulsfort/Alexander Kostanov (SC) def. Jaime Pulgar/Akash Gujarati (NCSU) 8-6

Singles (Order of Finish: 2, 4, 1, 3, 5, 6)
1. Jaime Pulgar (NCSU) def. (48) Diego Cubas (SC) 7-6 (6), 6-3
2. Pedro Campos (SC) def. Rob Lowe (NCSU) 6-0, 6-3
3. Dominic Hodgson (NCSU) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 7-5, 1-6, 6-2
4. Alexander Kostanov (SC) def. Dominic Hodgson (NCSU) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
5. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. Akash Gujarati (NCSU) 6-3, 6-2
6. Fernando Banos (NCSU) def. Ivan Cressoni (SC) 6-2, 6-1