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March 8, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 34 South Carolina defeated No. 29 Florida in a comeback win Friday night at the Carolina Tennis Center. The Gamecocks (11-5) were down 3-1 and rallied to take the match 4-3 after two three-set victories from Thiago Pinheiro and Andrew Adams.

The Gators took the doubles point with wins at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots. Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies held serve to tie the score at 3-3 but Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson got a pair of service breaks to swing the match in the Gators’ favor and held on for a 8-4 win. Stephane Piro and Bob van Overbeek got an early service break to put them up 3-0 against Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov at the No. 1 spot. Cox and Mihov held serve to cut the Gators’ lead to 4-2, but another break for Piro and Overbeek put them back on top 6-3 and the duo held on for an 8-4 win.

Koch got the Gamecocks on the board with a 6-4, 6-3 victory at the No. 5 spot. Koch broke out to early 4-1 leads in both sets against Gordon Watson and held on to give South Carolina their first point. The Gators took back the lead with wins at the Nos. 6 and 3 spots. Menzies fought hard but fell to Federhofer 6-3, 6-3 and Cox came up just short falling to Stephane Piro 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Mihov got the momentum back in the Gamecocks’ favor defeating No. 104 van Overbeek 7-6 (5), 6-4. Mihov held serve to tie the score at 6-6 and battled through a tiebreak game to take the first set. In the second set, Mihov was down early but got a service break to tie the score at 4-4 and another seal the 6-4 victory.

After dropping the first set to Michael Alford, Pinheiro would not give in and took the next two sets to tie the score at 3-3. Alford took the first set 6-4 but Pinheiro opened the second set with a pair of service breaks to give him an early 3-0 lead. The momentum was now in Pinheiro’s favor, as he stayed steady for a 6-2 win. The third set again started with a service break for Pinheiro, he then held serve and got another break to go up 4-1 and kept pace for another 6-2 win.

With the score tied it came down to Adams at the No. 2 spot. No. 62 Florent Diep took the first set 6-1, but Adams would not back down and battled back to clinch the victory for the Garnet and Black. Adams and Diep each held serve in the second set to tie the score at 5-5, a huge break for Adams put him up 6-5 and he held on for a 7-5 win. Carrying over the energy from the last set, Adams opened the third set with two more breaks to give him a 4-1 lead. Diep got a break in the next game and held serve to cut Adams’ lead to 4-3. Adams then held serve to bring his lead up to 5-3 and determined to take the point for the Gamecocks he fought through a long final game for a 6-3 victory.

“It feels good [to win] and I think this team deserves it,” said head coach Josh Goffi. “I think they finally realize how good they are, and that’s a really good team that we just beat today. It didn’t happen without the heart from all the guys. Kyle Koch and Tsvetan Mihov started it up with first set wins, but if you look at it we only won two first sets and that’s what so amazing. Thiago Pinheiro and Andrew Adams being the last two guys on the court, if you going to put money on somebody those are the guys you want out there for us. The crowd helped us out and our guys came through. I’m very happy for Andrew. After everything that he’s gone through with his hip, he needed that, and Florent Diep is a very accomplished player. That was all heart, nothing but Gamecock pride coming from those two. It feels really good, and we have to move on to the next one, but we’re definitely going to enjoy this one for a little while.”

The Gamecocks start a four-match road swing opening with a pair of top-10 SEC opponents. Next weekend’s trip starts at No. 10 Tennessee on Fri., March 15, at 2 p.m. before continuing at No. 7 Georgia on Sun., March 17, at 1 p.m.

#34 South Carolina 4, #29 Florida 3

Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 1)
1. Stephane Piro/Bob van Overbeek def. (33) Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) 8-4
2. Billy Federhofer/Gordon Watson def. Kyle Koch / Harry Menzies (SC) 8-4
3. Michael Alford/Florent Diep led Ben Barnette/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 6-5 suspended

Singles (Order of Finish: 5, 6, 3, 1, 4, 2)
1. (105) Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. (104) Bob van Overbeek (UF) 7-6 (5), 6-4
2. Andrew Adams (SC) def (62) Florent Diep 1-6, 7-5, 6-3
3. Stephane Piro (UF) def. Chip Cox (SC) 7-6 (1), 6-4
4. Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Michael Alford 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
5. Kyle Koch (SC) def. Gordon Watson (UF) 6-4, 6-3
6. Billy Federhofer (UF) def. Harry Menzies (SC) 6-3, 6-3