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April 8, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 38 South Carolina picked up its second SEC win in four matches Sunday afternoon, topping No. 41 Arkansas 4-1 at the Billingsley Tennis Center. Senior Ivan Machado played a key role in the victory as his doubles win with freshman Thiago Pinheiro gave the Gamecocks (15-9, 2-8 SEC) the early lead and his singles victory over a ranked opponent set the tone for the rest of the lineup.

“We fought really well today, considering the fatigue our guys were feeling from Friday’s five-hour battle,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “Getting this road win in the SEC under these circumstances is a testament to the heart and drive in our young team. I’m proud of the way the whole team contributed to the win today, whether they won their individual matches or not. Ivan Machado has been a true senior leader these past two matches. Having a guy like him fight at the top spot gives the rest of the team confidence. We are learning how to compete as a team, and it’s exciting to see as we head towards the end of our schedule and tournament time.”

South Carolina opened the match with wins in the top two doubles spots to take an early 1-0 lead. After Arkansas won the No. 3 match, the No. 47 duo of Chip Cox and Nick Jones evened things up with an 8-6 win over Arkansas’ top team of Hall Fess and Matt Walters, who are ranked No. 48 in the nation. The Machado/Pinheiro tandem used a late service break to put the Gamecocks on the board, defeating Manfred Jeske and Michael Nott 8-5.

In singles action, Andrew Adams and Pinheiro jumped out to early leads in the Nos. 3 and 4 matches, respectively. While Pinheiro saw Ward come back on him, Andrews kept his foot on the gas and was the first to close out his set, taking the first 6-3 over Walters. Kyle Koch was close behind with a 6-3 win over Fess in the No. 6 contest as he cracked a 3-3 tie with three straight wins.

The Razorback took the first sets in the Nos. 2 and 5 contests, but Machado surged ahead of No. 108 Nikolas Zogaj, winning three of the last four games to take the first set 6-3. Adams proceeded to quickly dispatch Walters in the No. 3 match, 6-2 in the second set to double the Gamecocks’ lead to 2-0. At the same time, Pinheiro rallied to finish off Jeske 7-5 in the first.

Machado struck early in his second set, staking out a 4-1 lead and holding on for a 6-2 second-set win just after Arkansas’ Gregoire Lehmann had cut the Gamecock lead in half with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Nick Jones in the No. 2 match.

Leading 3-1, the Gamecocks were leading or on serve in the second sets of the last three matches on court. Koch was the first to make the decisive move, clinching the team victory with a 6-4 win. With the match decided, the last two matches on court were suspended to accommodate the Gamecocks’ travel plans.

The win was the Gamecocks’ first against an SEC foe on the road under Goffi and the first since a March 28, 2010, victory at Mississippi State.

South Carolina will close out the regular season at No. 9 Florida on Sat., April 14, then head to Starkville, Miss., for the SEC Tournament, which runs April 19-22.

No. 38 South Carolina 4, No. 41 Arkansas 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2)
1. (47) Chip Cox/Nick Jones (SC) def. (48) Hall Fess/Matt Walters (ARK) 8-6
2. Ivan Machado/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Manfred Jeske/Michael Nott (ARK) 8-5
3. Nikoals Zogaj/Mike Ward (ARK) def. Kyle Koch/Carl Eguez (SC) 8-4

Singles (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1, 6)
1. (121) Ivan Machado (SC) def. (108) Nikolas Zogaj (ARK) 6-3, 6-2
2. Gregoire Lehmann (ARK) def. Nick Jones (SC) 6-2, 6-3
3. Andrew Adams (SC) def. Matt Walters (ARK) 6-3, 6-2
4. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) led Manfred Jeske (ARK) 7-5, 2-0 DNF
5. Mike Ward (ARK) def. Chip Cox (SC) 6-3, 5-6 DNF
6. Kyle Koch (SC) def. Hall Fess (ARK) 6-3, 6-4