No. 31 Gamecocks Out-Work No. 11 Kentucky 5-2
March 8, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 31 South Carolina upset No. 11 Kentucky 5-2 this afternoon at Sam Daniel Tennis Facility, the Gamecocks' first win over a top-15 team in three years. It was just the Gamecocks' second win over the Wildcats in the last eight meetings and Carolina's first 2-0 open to SEC play since 2005. The No. 1 doubles team of Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado defeated its second top-30 opponent in as many matches to deliver the doubles point for Carolina, and Johannes Pulsfort rallied back from a one-set deficit at No. 5 singles to clinch the Gamecock victory. Cubas scored another impressive victory with a three-set comeback win over the nation's second-ranked player, Bruno Agostinelli.
"This is a great win for us," South Carolina head coach Kent DeMars said. "We know Kentucky was a good team and coming off a loss at Florida, but, when you're a good team, you still have to prove it. To beat good teams, you can't be soft anywhere in the match. You have to win the doubles point to start, which we were able to do, and you have to come in expecting to win. Diego's win was just a punctuation for the whole team's play. He is going to play many top-10 players in the SEC, and this should give him a lot of confidence for the rest of the season."
South Carolina rallied to win the doubles point after Kentucky's No. 3 team of Alex Musialek and Alberto Gonzalez opened the match with an 8-2 win over Jamie Cuellar and Pulsfort. In the No. 2 spot, Pedro Campos and Ivan Cressoni earned two breaks of serve in the last three games to claim an 8-5 win over Eric Quigley and Graeme Dyce, leaving the No. 1 teams to settle the point. South Carolina's duo had jumped out to an early 3-1 lead on the nation's 20th-ranked team of Agostinelli and Brad Cox, but were back on serve at 4-3 by the time the other two matches were complete. Carolina got a break to go up 5-3 then won the match 8-4 on a Kentucky double fault.
Campos wasted little time in posting the Gamecocks' second point of the match with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Brad Cox at No. 2 singles. Kentucky's Eric Quigley, ranked No. 99 in the country, returned the favor with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Cuellar to put the Wildcats on the board.
Meanwhile, the Gamecocks were up a set at Nos. 4 and 6, but trailing on the other two courts. While Pulsfort fought back at No. 5 singles to win the second set 6-1, Cressoni rallied back from a 1-4 deficit at No. 6 to level the second set at 4-4. Even at 5-5, he broke Gonzalez and served for the match, giving the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead. At No. 5, Pulsfort continued his rally, going up 5-0 in the third set before an extended rally on match point ended with a well-played lob over Dyce's head to deliver the set 6-1 and the match for both him and the Gamecocks.
At No. 4 singles, Machado lost his one-set lead, eventually falling 3-6, 0-6 to Musialek to give Kentucky its second point of the match. On Court 1, however, Cubas was revived after dropping his first set 6-0. He broke Agostinelli to open the second set then held on over the last three games, during which neither player could hold his serve, to win the second set 6-4. The second set started much like the first with Cubas breaking Agostinelli's first service game to take a 2-0 lead. The two traded service games until Agostinelli got the break back to pull within one at 4-3. With Cubas leading 5-4, Agostinelli was serving to stay in the match. A pair of wild forehands from Agostinelli gave Cubas a pair of match points, but he needed just one to finish off the match.
South Carolina will play its first road match in more than a month when it travels to Knoxville to take on the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers on Fri., March 13, before stopping in Athens, Ga., to take on the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs on Sun., March 15.
No. 31 South Carolina 5, No. 11 Kentucky 2Doubles: (Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. (64) Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) def. (20) Bruno Agostinelli/Brad Cox (UK) 8-4
2. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) def. Eric Quigley/Graeme Dyce (UK) 8-5
3. Alex Musialek/Alberto Gonzalez (UK) def. Jaime Cuellar/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 8-2
Singles: (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 6, 5, 4, 1)