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April 10, 2011

ATHENS, Ga. – South Carolina men’s tennis suffered a 7-0 loss at No. 7 Georgia in SEC action on Sunday at Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The Gamecocks’ top double team of Chip Cox and Alexander Kostanov stretched No. 11 Javier Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters to a tiebreaker, but the Bulldog duo held on. In singles action, Harry Menzies forced his No. 4 match to three sets before Georgia clinched the sweep and at least a share of the SEC regular-season title.

In doubles, Georgia got out to early breaks in the Nos. 2 and 3 matches and extended those leads to 8-5 and 8-3 victories, respectively. In the No. 1 match, though, the Gamecocks were holding up their end well. Facing their second-straight highly ranked team, Cox and Kostanov held strong, pressing Garrapiz and Pieters on their serve several times in the match. Knotted at 6-6 on serve, the Gamecocks got it to deuce on Pieters’ service game, but the Bulldogs held on. With the doubles point decided and the No. 1 match tied at 7-7, the teams played a tiebreaker to decide the final outcome. The Bulldog duo jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but the Gamecocks came back quickly to tie it up 3-3. South Carolina took a 5-4 lead with the serve, and the match seesawed back and forth to 8-8. Georgia claimed the next two points, however, to seal up the tiebreaker 10-8.

In singles, the No. 3 match was the first decided as Drake Bernstein scored a 6-4, 6-1 win over Cox to double the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0. Jake Bowling was in the No. 5 spot for the second-straight match, falling to Campbell Johnson 6-3, 6-2 as Georgia was perched to clinch the victory in the next match off the courts.

The match closest to finishing was the No. 6 matchup of Chris Sheehan and Garrett Brasseaux. After stretching his Tennessee opponent to 7-5 in his second set on Friday night, Sheehan had Brasseaux on the ropes on Sunday. Sheehan scored the first break of the match to take a 3-2 lead, but Brasseaux answered immediately to get back on serve 3-3. The match stayed on serve through 6-5 with the Sheehan serving. The game went to deuce and Brasseaux eked out the late break to take the first set 7-5. He went on to clinch the match for Georgia with a 6-3 second-set victory.

In the No. 1 match, Kostanov had dropped the first set to No. 14 Wil Spencer 6-2, but was fighting Spencer in the second. Kostanov scored a break to go up 3-2 in the second set and held onto the edge through 5-3. After breaking Kostanov to get back on serve, Spencer was serving to stay in the match. The Gamecock sophomore stretched the game to deuce, but saw his opponent hold for 5-5. Spencer broke Kostanov to take a 6-5 lead, which he consolidated with a final hold for the 7-5 win.

Ivan Machado was in an early battle with No. 54 Sadio Doumbia in the No. 2 match. The Bulldogs’ junior from France jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Machado got a break back to pull within 4-3 with Georgia serving. Doumbia answered with another break and was serving for the set a 5-3. The Gamecocks’ Brazilian bounced back with another break to get back on serve 4-5, and consolidated that with a hold to level the match at 5-5. Machado took Doumbia deep into his next service game, but the Bulldog got the hold before returning the favor in the next game. Machado trailed early in the decisive game and sent a forehand wide on break point to drop the first set 7-5. The second set began much the same as the first with Doumbia opening a 3-1 lead, but Machado got back on serve, winning two of the next three games for a 3-4 deficit. Doumbia scored his second break of the set and went on to hold for the 6-3 win.

Menzies was the first Gamecock to win a set as he topped Ignacio Taboada 6-4 in the first set of the No. 4 match. The Bulldogs’ junior stormed back with a 6-0 win in the second set and continued that momentum to close out the match with a 6-1 third set.

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. 7 Georgia 7, South Carolina 0

Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. (11) Javier Garrapiz/Hernus Pieters (GA) def. Alexander Kostanov / Chip Cox (SC) 8-7 (8)
2. (37) Sadio Doumbia/Ignacio Taboada (GA) def. Harry Menzies / Chris Sheehan (SC) 8-5
3. Drake Bernsein/Wil Spencer (GA) def. Jake Bowling / Ivan Machado (SC) 8-3

Singles (Order of Finish: (3, 5, 6, 1, 2, 4)
1. (14) Wil Spencer (GA) def. Alexander Kostanov (SC) 6-2, 7-5
2. (54) Sadio Doumbia (GA) def. Ivan Machado (SC) 7-5, 6-3
3. Drake Bernstein (GA) def. Chip Cox (SC) 6-4, 6-1
4. Ignacio Taboada (GA) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 4-6, 6-0, 6-1
5. Campbell Johnson (GA) def. Jake Bowling (SC) 6-3, 6-2
6. Garrett Brasseaux (GA) def. Chris Sheehan (SC) 7-5, 6-3