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Jan. 29, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis (5-0) defeated No. 69 Georgia State (3-1) and Davidson (0-2) in a Sunday doubleheader at the USC Indoor Facility. The Gamecocks dropped a single match on the day, topping Georgia State 6-1 and sweeping Davidson, the Gamecocks fourth sweep in five matches this season. Eight South Carolina players saw time with senior Ivan Machado leading the way with wins in all four of his matches.

“Today was a good test for our young team,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “Both opponents came to play today, and our guys dealt with the challenge of a tough doubleheader really well. The young guys are gaining valuable experience with every match we play.”

The match started with a lot of energy as the Gamecocks faced their first ranked opponent of the season. In doubles play, the Brazilian tandem of senior Machado and freshman Thiago Pinheiro gave the Gamecocks the early advantage by defeating Thomas Cook and Jose Ortiz 8-2 in the No. 2 spot. The duo took an early 5-0 lead and never looked back, not dropping serve in the match. The Panthers struck back at the No. 3 spot as Juan Pablo Gutierrez and Lucas Santana defeated Chip Cox and Andrew Adams by a score of 8-2 to pull even and leave the doubles point up to the No. 1 match. With the point in the balance, freshman Kyle Koch and Nick Jones took on Georgia State’s top pairing of Matias Hatem and Victor Valente. The match was on serve at 4-4 when Jones and Koch came up with a crucial break to put them in the lead. The tandem carried that momentum to close out its opposition 8-4 and clinch the doubles point for South Carolina.

In singles play, the Gamecocks looked to their veterans to lead them to their fourth win. Myrtle Beach, S.C., native Cox took care of business in the No. 4 spot by defeating Georgia State’s Ismael Lahlou, 6-3, 6-1. Machado followed Cox’s performance with his fourth singles win of the year, thanks to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Thomas Cook that gave the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead in the match. Shortly after Machado’s win, Adams gave Carolina the victory by taking out Hatem 6-2, 6-3. With the match in hand, Jones forced a third set in the No. 1 spot after dropping the first set 2-6. The sophomore from Cardiff, Wales, used his powerful serve to grind out the deciding set, taking the match 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Koch kept the heat on the Panthers by turning in his fourth win of the year with a dominating 6-0, 6-1 victory in the No. 6 spot.

In the afternoon match with Davidson, the Gamecocks rode their momentum to a sweep of the doubles matches. Jones and Koch headlined the wins, topping the nation’s 19th-ranked tandem of Calem Gee and Joe Schafer 8-6. Machado and Pinheiro got things going with a routine 8-1 win in the No. 2 spot, and the Adams/Cox duo followed closely behind with an 8-3 win. The No. 1 match was on serve through eight games until Jones and Koch broke through with solid net play to take a 5-4 advantage. The Gamecock tandem consolidated the break behind the booming serve of Koch, and sailed in for the win.

In singles action, it was again Cox turning in the first result of the match with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Calum Gee in the No. 3 spot. Adams followed closely behind with a win oer Joe Schafer by the same score in the No. 2 contest, sealing his win with an ace on match point. Carl Eguez shook off his loss in the morning match to turn in an efficient 6-3, 6-4 win over Nicky Kunz in the No. 4 match, holding on in the second set after back-to-back service breaks.

Machado saw Davidson’s Chris Mark get back on serve with a break when the Gamecock senior was serving for the first set, but Machado simply returned the favor to win 6-4. In the second set, the two traded again traded service breaks in the sixth and seventh games of the set. With the match tied 5-5, Mark took advantage of some second serves to pick up the break for a 6-5 advantage. Once again, though, Machado had the answer, punctuated by a hand-cuffing service return to send the set to a tiebreak. He quickly leapt out to a 5-1 lead before Mark mounted yet another rally, winning the next five points to take a 6-5 lead. Machado kept the set alive with a stabbing forehand volley, but a double fault put Mark back in the driver’s seat. A crips forehand up the line evened things at 7-7, and Mark’s double fault set up match point for Machado. A cross-court forehand winner from Mark knotted the tiebreaker again. Machado took to the net for a backhand volley up the line and duplicated the effort on match point to close out the set 7-6 (8).

In the final two matches on court, Pinheiro overcame a service break that had him down 3-4 to win the next three games for a 6-4 first-set win in the No. 5 spot. Davidson’s Robert Lightbourn had little left for the second set, which Pinheiro claimed 6-1.Barnette took over the No. 6 matchup with a late break for a 6-4 first set and did not allow Ethan Kallick a single game in the second.

The Gamecocks take their perfect record on the road for the next three weeks, traveling first to No. 19 Georgia Tech for a 1 p.m. match on Sat., Feb. 4.

South Carolina 6, No. 69 Georgia State 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
Nick Jones / Kyle Koch (SC) def. Matias Hatem/Victor Valente (GSU) 8-4
Ivan Machado / Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Thomas Cook/Jose Ortiz (GSU) 8-2
Juan Pablo Gutierrez/Lucas Santana (GSU) def. Chip Cox / Andrew Adams (SC) 8-2

Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 2, 3, 1, 6, 5)
Nick Jones (SC) def. Victor Valente (GSU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
Ivan Machado (SC) def. Thomas Cook (GSU) 6-4, 6-4
Andrew Adams (SC) def. Matias Hatem (GSU) 6-2, 6-3
Chip Cox (SC) def. Ismael Lahlou (GSU) 6-3, 6-1
Juan Pablo Gutierrez (GSU) def. Carl Eguez (SC) 7-6 (10), 1-6, 1-0 (13)
Kyle Koch (SC) def. Lucas Santana (GSU) 6-0, 6-1

South Carolina 7, Davidson 0

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
Nick Jones / Kyle Koch (SC) def. (19) Calum Gee/JoeSchafer (DC) 8-6
Ivan Machado / Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Chris Mark/Kevin Moore (DC) 8-1
Andrew Adams / Chip Cox (SC) def. Ethan Kallick/Connor Evins (DC) 8-3

Singles (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 4, 1, 5, 6)
Ivan Machado (SC) def. Chris Mark (DC) 6-4, 7-6 (8)
Andrew Adams (SC) def. Joe Schafer (DC) 6-1, 6-4
Chip Cox (SC) def. Calum Gee (DC) 6-1, 6-4
Carl Eguez (SC) def. Nicky Kunz(DC) 6-3, 6-4
Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Robert Lightbourn (DC) 6-4, 6-1
Ben Barnette (SC) def. Ethan Kallick (DC) 6-4, 6-0