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April 15, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C.Thiago Pinheiro from the South Carolina men’s tennis team has been named AgSouth Athlete of the Week.

Pinheiro’s two doubles and two singles wins last week were critical to the Gamecocks’ biggest team victories since 2005. The sophomore played phenomenal tennis against No. 13 Vanderbilt, teaming with Andrew Adams for a dominant 8-0 win in a doubles match took under 30 minutes. Pinheiro went on to clinch the program’s first win over a top-15 team since 2009 with an efficient 6-3, 6-1 victory in the No. 3 singles position.

Against No. 8 Kentucky, the doubles point came down to the No. 3 match, which went into a tiebreak. Pinheiro was strong at the net to establish a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak, and the pair went on to win it 7-4 to put the Gamecocks up 1-0. The early lead was essential as the Wildcats claimed the first three singles matches to finish. Pinheiro’s 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 3 singles to send the momentum back to South Carolina. The Gamecocks’ eventual win over the Wildcats was the program’s highest-ranked win since 2005 and tied the school record as the seventh SEC win of the season.

The two wins on the weekend helped the Gamecocks to finish tied for third in the league, the best SEC finish in school history. Those school-record seven SEC wins came thanks to the success of Pinheiro, who went 5-3in singles in SEC play, including wins in four of his last five matches.