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March 19, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina suffered a 7-0 loss to No. 33 Mississippi State in men’s tennis action at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks fell just shy of the doubles point and could not regain the momentum. South Carolina’s No. 2 doubles team of Alexander Kostanov and Chip Cox posted the team’s lone win of the match.

“Mississippi State is one of the best teams we’ve played all year,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “They may be a little under ranked for how good they are. For our team, we’re trying to keep getting better, and we’re working at that day-in and day-out.

The Gamecocks mounted a late rally for the doubles point as the No. 1 match decided the point. The Bulldogs won the No. 3 match, but South Carolina’s No. 2 tandem of Kostanov and Cox leveled things with an 8-4 win, punctuated by a service winner from Cox on match point. Ivan Machado and Nick Jones had fallen behind early in the No. 1 match, trailing 1-5 behind a pair of service breaks. A Machado drop volley got a break back for 3-6, and solid volleying from Jones in the 11th game set up Machado winner on the service return to put the set back on serve at 5-6. Mississippi State’s top duo, ranked 69th in the country, answered immediately with another break of serve and survived a series of deuces to win the final game for an 8-5 victory.

Machado exacted his revenge quickly, using good serves and quick hands at the net to win the first set 6-1 against No. 85 George Coupland in the No. 1 match. Most of the Gamecocks fell behind early in their first sets as the Bulldogs seized momentum.

Mississippi State’s Malte Stropp put his team up 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Jones in the No. 4 match, and No. 92 Louis Cant followed shortly behind with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Johannes Pulsfort in the No. 5 contest.

Harry Menzies was the only Gamecock besides Machado to take a lead in his first set as he broke Zach White’s serve for a 2-1 lead. The Bulldogs’ No. 6 player came back, though, breaking Menzies in the sixth and eighth games to win the set 6-3. Menzies found himself down early in the second set as well, but looked to rally behind a break in the sixth game, but White closed out the set 6-4 to clinch the match for Mississippi State.

Back on Court 1, Machado broke Coupland in the first game of the second set, but gave it right back in the next game. Coupland battled for a second break in the fourth game and evened the match at a set apiece with a 6-2 win. He used an early service break in the third to complete his comeback win in the final match to be decided.

South Carolina closes out its three-match home stand when archrival Clemson visits for a 2 p.m. match on Wed., March 23.

No. 33 Mississippi State 7, South Carolina 0

Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. (69) Louis Cant/Malte Stropp (MS) def. Ivan Machado / Nick Jones (SC) 8-5
2. Alexander Kostanov / Chip Cox (SC) def. James Chaudry/George Coupland (MS) 8-4
3. Artem Ilyushin/Zach White (MS) def. Johannes Pulsfort / Chris Sheehan (SC) 8-2

Singles (Order of Finish: (4, 5, 6, 2, 3, 1)
1. (85) George Coupland (MS) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
2. (84) Artem Ilyushin (MS) def. Alexander Kostanov (SC) 6-2, 6-3
3. James Chaudry (MS) def. Chip Cox (SC) 6-3, 6-4
4. Malte Stropp (MS) def. Nick Jones (SC) 6-1, 6-0
5. (92) Louis Cant (MS) def. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 6-2, 6-0
6. Zach White (MS) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 6-3, 6-4