No. 49 Gamecocks Upend No. 34 Wolfpack 5-2
Feb. 20, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 49 South Carolina squeaked out the doubles point and was solid at the top and bottom of the singles lineup to knock off .No. 34 NC State 5-2 in men's tennis action this afternoon at the USC Indoor Field House. Moved indoors at the last minute due to cool temperatures, every point of the match was hotly contested, but sophomore Johannes Pulsfort's straight-set victory at No. 5 singles sealed the Gamecocks' fifth-straight win of the season, their first over a team ranked ahead of them in the polls.
NC State's No. 2 tandem of Christian Welte and Julian Sullivan struck first, dispatching Pedro Campos and Ivan Cressoni 8-6, but the doubles point was up for grabs until the final shot. The No. 3 match went to a tie-breaker after the teams traded service breaks to get to 8-8. South Carolina's Jaime Cuellar and Pulsfort took immediate control of the tie-break but had to hold on for a 7-5 win. The match finished just ahead of Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado's 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles as the Gamecock pair broker Jay Weinacker's serve to stave off a late charge from the nation's 38th-ranked tandem of Weinacker and Jaime Pulgar.
In singles action, No. 97 Cubas went right back to work on Weinacker, ranked 89th in the country in singles, getting a break early in each set for a 6-2, 6-3 win at the No. 1 spot for a quick 2-0 Gamecock lead. NC State's Julian Sullivan was making just a quick work of Machado in No. 4 singles, turning in a 6-2, 6-3 victory to cut South Carolina's lead in half.
Campos got two breaks of serve in a 6-2 first-set win at No. 2 singles and broke to open the second set before No. 91 Christian Welte put up a fight. With two breaks of serve, Welte led 3-1 only to give the game right back. The two again traded breaks and went to a tie-breaker, in which Campos jumped out to a 5-1 lead and never looked back, winning it 7-3.
With the Gamecocks one point from victory, Cuellar fought through leg cramps that severely hampered his serving to win the second set 7-5 and even his No. 3 match with Pulgar. Neither player was solid on his serve throughout the lengthy battle, which gave Pulsfort time to seal the team victory with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Eric Turner at No. 5 singles. At the No. 6 spot, Cressoni overcame David Chermak 6-4, 6-3 to stay undefeated on the season. Back in the No. 3 match, Pulgar took his injury timeout in the third set before outlasting his Gamecock counterpart 6-4. It was Cuellar's first loss of the season, and, in fact, was the first set he has lost this spring.
South Carolina improves to 8-1 on the season with the win, while NC State falls to 4-5 overall. The Gamecocks continue an eight-match home stand with a doubleheader on Sat., Feb. 28, against Gardner-Webb and Appalachian State. The first match is slated to begin at 10 a.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Facility.
No. 49 South Carolina 5, No. 34 NC State 2Doubles: (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) def. (38) Jay Weinacker/Jaime Pulgar (NCS) 8-5
2. Christian Welte/Julian Sullivan (NCS) def. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) 8-6
3. Jaime Cuellar/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. Rob Lowe/Freddy Prandecki (NCS) 9-8 (5)
Singles: (Order of Finish:1, 4, 2, 5, 6, 3)