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Jan. 26, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 40 South Carolina dropped a tough 4-3 decision to No. 47 Michigan State in a match that went down to the wire. The Gamecocks (4-2) won the doubles point for the second straight day, but, with an injury-altered lineup, could not match up with the Spartans (4-2). Junior Chip Cox and senior Harry Menzies posted the singles victories for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks jumped out to early leads in two of the three doubles matches, but the Spartans would change the outcome of one of them late. In the No. 1 match, Cox and Tsvetan Mihov broke serve to open their match against Aaron Pfister and Drew Lied and never looked back en route to an 8-4 victory. Kyle Koch and Menzies also scored an early service break in the No. 2 match, but Ben Barnette and Thiago Pinheiro trailed by a break three games into their No. 3 match with John Patrick Mullane and Denis Bogatov. Midway through both matches, though, the tide had turned. After going up 5-2, Koch and Menzies were back on serve two games later. Tied 6-6, the Spartan tandem of Gijs Linders and Harry Jadun surged ahead with a break before holding serve to close out the 8-6 victory. Fortunately for the Gamecocks, the No. 3 match had a similar turn as Barnette and Pinheiro were back on serve at 4-3 and scored a second break for a 5-3 lead that they held for an 8-5 victory to give South Carolina a 1-0 lead in the match.

Singles opened with the Gamecocks breaking serve early in two of the four matches on court. Koch wasted little time jumping on Linders’ serve for a 2-1 lead in the No. 3 match, and Mihov held a 4-2 edge midway into his first set against Pfister in the top spot. Cox was on serve early in his No. 2 matchup with Lied, but Pinheiro trailed early in his No. 4 contest with Mullane.

Linders was the first Spartan to rally, getting back on serve at 2-2 against Koch, and Pfister made his move on Mihov to get to 4-4. Both Gamecocks carried on to the final game, but their Spartan opponents broke serve on both courts to win their first sets 6-4. Meanwhile, Cox pushed past Lied for a 4-3 lead that he carried to a 6-4 first-set victory.

Pinheiro dropped the first set to Mullane 6-4 and struggled to find rhythm on his serve in the second, eventually falling 6-1 as the Spartans leveled the match a 1-1. Pfister played a solid second set against Mihov, and the Spartans’ to player gave his team the edge with a 6-3 second-set win. Like Pinheiro, Koch fell behind early in his second set with Linders, and a 6-1 score put the Spartans within a point of a winning the match.

For the Gamecocks, Cox continued to grind it out against Lied, and his relentless pressure got South Carolina back on the board as he won his second set 6-4. The final two matches to take the court would decide the outcome. Menzies started first and quickly delivered a 6-2 first-set win over Bogatov before opening a tighter second set. In the No. 6 match, Barnette battled Will Davis in a tight first set that went the Spartans’ way 6-4.

Menzies persevered in the second set, riding a single service break to a 6-4 victory to knot the match at 3-3, leaving the outcome to the No. 6 contest. Davis carried the momentum of his first-set win to jump out to a quick lead in the second and finished off the victory with a 6-2 decision.

South Carolina is back in action on Sat., Feb. 2, with a doubleheader against #60 Georgia Tech and Wofford at the USC Field House.

#47 Michigan State 4, #40 South Carolina 3

Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3)
1. Chip Cox / Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. Aaron Pfister/Drew Lied (MSU) 8-4
2. Gijs Linders/Harry Jadun (MSU) def. Kyle Koch / Harry Menzies (SC) 8-6
3. Ben Barnette / Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. John Patrick Mullane/Denis Bogatov (MSU) 8-5

Singles (Order of Finish: (4, 1, 3, 2, 5, 6)
1. Aaron Pfister (MSU) def. Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 6-4, 6-3
2. Chip Cox (SC) def. Drew Lied (MSU) 6-4, 6-4
3. Gijs Linders (MSU) def. Kyle Koch (SC) 6-4, 6-1
4. John Patrick Mullane (MSU) def. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-4, 6-1
5. Harry Menzies (SC) def. Denis Bogatov (MSU) 6-2, 6-4
6. Will Davis (MSU) def. Ben Barnette (SC) 6-4, 6-2