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March 21, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina battled to the bitter end, but fell just short of the upset as No. 14 Ole Miss won the third sets of the final two matches to claim a 5-2 victory in SEC men’s tennis action on Sunday afternoon at the USC Field House. The Gamecocks (7-7, 0-5 SEC) gave the Rebels (13-2, 4-1 SEC) everything they could handle with the match coming down to the last possible points in the Nos. 5 and 6 matches. Seniors Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos delivered the singles wins for the Gamecocks while also pairing for the lone doubles win of the match as well.

The Gamecocks fell behind after dropping two of three doubles matches. The Ole Miss tandem of Marcel and Chris Thiemann turned in an 8-2 win over Ivan Machado and Johannes Pulsfort in the No. 2 match to start things off. The Gamecocks’ No. 3 duo of Ivan Cressoni and Alexander Kostanov were up a break on Adrian Forberg Skogen and Harry Fowler, carrying a 5-2 lead when the first match had ended. The Ole Miss team rallied to win the next six games to win the match and the doubles point. In the No. 1 match, Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos finished off the nation’s No. 51 tandem of Tucker Vorster and Jonas Lutjen 8-5 as the Gamecocks hoped to build momentum into singles play.

The Rebels stymied that effort with Lutjen’s 6-1, 6-3 win over Kostanov in the No. 3 match. Cubas carried his solid doubles form into singles, facing 60th-ranked Vorster. Neither player could break the other’s serve in the first set, leading to a tiebreaker that Cubas would dominate. Powerful groundstrokes overwhelmed Vorster early, and Cuba took a commanding 4-1 lead on a point the Rebels’ top player appeared to have under control. Cubas scrambled all over the court just getting back each volley by Vorster until on found the net, leaving Cubas to cruise to a 7-2 win in the tiebreaker. In the second set, Cubas broke serve for a 3-1 lead and went on to win the set 6-2, getting the Gamecocks on the board.

Ole Miss pushed ahead again as Chris Thiemann eked past Cressoni in an extended second-set tiebreaker, posting a 6-3, 7-6 (6) in the No. 4 position. With the Rebels within a point of the match victory, Campos was rallying back from losing the first set to Marchel Thiemann in the No. 2 spot. After being broken to lose the first set 5-7, the Gamecock senior opened the second set with a break and consolidated it with a hold to go up 2-0. Thiemann got the set back on serve with a break to even things at 5-5, but Campos took the break right back and went on to win the second set 7-5. The third set was on serve through the first eight games when Campos surged ahead 5-4 en route to his final 6-4 victory.

The match would come down to the last two matches to take the court, both of which went into a third set. Pulsfort fought back from losing the first set to Fowler 5-7 to win the second 6-1. With both players fighting the hold serve in the third, the match was on serve at 5-5. Fowler pounced on Pulsfort’s next service game, reaching high to smash every lob and take a 6-5 lead. The freshman held his serve in the final game to give the Rebels the team victory.

The No. 5 contest had the opposite beginning but a similar outcome as Machado won the first set 6-4, but saw Skogeng battle back to claim the second 6-2. The Gamecock sophomore struggled with his serve in the third set, dropping his first two service games, and Skogeng cruised to a 6-2 win.

South Carolina steps out of conference play once more next week, traveling to arch rival Clemson for a 2:30 p.m. match on Wed., March 24.


Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. Diego Cubas/Pedro Campos (SC) def. (51) Tucker Vorster/Jonas Lutjen (OM) 8-5
2. Marcel Thiemann/Chris Thiemann (OM) def. Ivan Machado/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 8-2
3. Adrian Skogeng/Harry Fowler (OM) def. Ivan Cressoni/Alexander Kostanov (SC) 8-5

Singles (Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4, 2, 6, 5)
1. (73) Diego Cubas (SC) def. (60) Tucker Vorster (OM) 7-6 (2), 6-2
2. (125) Pedro Campos (SC) def. (59) Marcel Thiemann (OM) 5-7, 7-5, 6-4
3. Jonas Lutjen (OM) def. Alexander Kostanov (SC) 6-1, 6-3
4. Chris Thiemann (OM) def. Ivan Cressoni (SC) 6-3, 7-6 (6)
5. Adrian Forberg Skogeng (OM) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Harry Fowler (OM) def. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 7-5, 1-6, 7-5