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April 8, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina dropped a 7-0 decision at No. 4 Tennessee in SEC men’s tennis action at Barksdale Stadium Friday afternoon, although the Gamecocks put up a good fight in three of the singles matches. Bringing five nationally ranked players into the six singles matches, the Vols found the going difficult in the Nos. 1, 4 and 6 matches before eventually picking up the wins.

The Gamecocks shuffled their doubles line against the highly rated Vols, who took the early lead in the match with the doubles point. The nation’s top duo of Boris Conkic and John-Patrick Smith closed out the sweep with an 8-4 win over Alexander Kostanov and Chip Cox in the No. 1 match.

At the top of the singles order, Kostanov battled No. 4 Rhyne Williams in the first set. Neither player yielded a service break in the set, but Williams eked out the tiebreaker 7-5 for the early lead. The Vols won the first sets on the remainder of the courts as well, but Harry Menzies and Chris Sheehan were fighting in the second sets of the Nos. 4 and 6 matches, respectively.

Tennessee took a 3-0 lead behind efficient matches by No. 48 Tennys Sandgren and No. 121 Boris Conkic. Sandgren posted a 6-1, 6-3 win over Cox in the No. 3 match to kick off singles action, and Conkic followed closely with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Jake Bowling in the No. 5 matchup. Williams clinched the match with a 6-1 second-set win over Kostanov.

In the No. 2 match, Ivan Machado tried to make a late comeback on No. 12 Smith. After dropping the first set 6-1 and getting behind a pair of breaks in the second, Machado held off match point to break Smith’s serve to get back within 5-3. The Gamecock junior consolidated that break with a hold for 5-4, but Smith played a decisive 10th game of the set to collect the victory.

Like Machado, Sheehan had fallen behind Edward Jones 6-2 in the first set but was holding serve through the second set of the No. 6 contest. The match was on serve through 10 games before Jones finally broke through for a 6-5 edge that he would hold through his final service game.

Menzies was doing similary work in the No. 4 match, facing No. 56 Matteo Fago. South Carolina’s sophomore lost the first set 6-3 but was more consistent in getting to Fago’s serve in the second set. Menzies fell behind a break a 5-4 but answered with another break to level the match at 5-5. He was unable to consolidate with a hold in the next game, though, allowing Fago to serve out the 7-5 win.

The Gamecocks close out the road portion of their regular season on Sun., April 10, at No. 9 Georgia, taking on the Bulldgos at 1 p.m. South Carolina hosts its final match of the 2011 campaign on Sat., April 16, taking on No. 15 Florida t 1 p.m. at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center.

No. 4 Tennessee 7, South Carolina 0

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. (1) Boris Conkic/John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. Alexander Kostanov / Chip Cox (SC) 8-4
2. (61) Tennys Sandgren/Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Harry Menzies / Chris Sheehan (SC) 8-2
3. Edward Jones/Matteo Fago (UT) def. Jake Bowling/Ivan Machado (SC) 8-2

Singles (Order of Finish: (3, 5, 1, 2, 6, 4)
1. (4) Rhyne Williams (UT) def. Alexander Kostanov (SC) 7-6 (5), 6-1
2. (12) John-Patrick Smith (UT) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 6-1, 6-4
3. (48) Tennys Sandgren (UT) def. Chip Cox (SC) 6-1, 6-3
4. (56) Matteo Fago (UT) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 6-3, 7-5
5. (121) Boris Conkic (UT) def. Jake Bowling (SC) 6-1, 6-2
6. Edward Jones (UT) def. Chris Sheehan (SC) 6-2, 7-5