Gamecocks Edged Out Late at Ole Miss
April 7, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. - No. 20 South Carolina suffered its second-straight near miss in a 4-2 loss at No. 7 Ole Miss Sunday afternoon at Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The Gamecocks (15-9, 5-5 SEC) had the Rebels on the ropes throughout with three matches in third sets, and a tense final 30 minutes of action decided the outcome. South Carolina won the doubles point for the second-straight match and led 2-0 after a quick win from Tsvetan Mihov at the top of the lineup, but the Rebels finished strong, just edging out wins in two of the final three matches on court.
The Gamecocks won the doubles point against a re-vamped Ole Miss lineup as the rebels pulled the nation's fourth-ranked tandem from the top of the lineup. Thiago Pinheiro and Andrew Adams took an early 3-1 lead over William Kallberg and Zach Wilder in the No. 3 match, but the Rebels were up a break in the No. 2 match. The Gamecocks' 21st-ranked duo of Chip Cox and Tsvetan Mihov cracked through the nation's 67th-ranked team of Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom shortly after, going up 4-2. South Carolina's top team was on a roll, then, winning four of the next five games to win 8-3. The Nos. 2 and 3 matches were at the same 7-3 scores, but were in the favor of opposite teams. The Rebels pulled out the win in the No. 2 contest, but Pinheiro/Adams held onto their early break to deliver the point with an 8-3 win over Kallberg/Wilder.
Mihov kept his solid play rolling into singles, rolling past No. 8 Nik Sholtz 6-0 in the first set before the Rebels' sophomore retired with an injury to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead in the match. The Rebels won the first sets in the No. 4 and 5 matches, though and were up a break on Court 2. Harry Menzies joined Mihov as a first-set winner, riding an early break to a 6-3 win over Adrian Skogeng in the No. 6 contest.
Just as Adams broke back to get on serve at 5-5 against No. 12 Jonas Lutjen on Court 2, Pinheiro fought out a late service break en route to a 6-4 win over No. 84 Kallberg on Court 3. Adams and Lutjen battled through a tight tiebreak, but the Ole Miss senior made key plays down the stretch to win the set 7-6 (6).
The Rebels cut the Gamecocks' lead in half with a win in the No. 4 match and were looking for momentum. Lutjen was up a break on Adams in the second set, and Kallberg rallied to win the second set from Pinheiro to send the No. 3 match into a third set. Adrian Skogeng had done the same with Menzies on Court 6, but the Gamecocks had Kyle Koch rallying to win his second set and force Johan Backstrom into a third set as well in the No. 5 match.
After Lutjen leveled the team scoring with a win over Adams, the action was fast and tense on the remaining three courts. Pinheiro went up a break at 3-2, but Koch and Menzies were fighting from down a break in their matches. Kallberg had Pinheiro on the ropes with a pair of break points in the seventh game, but the Gamecocks' sophomore fought them off to take a 5-2 lead. Koch got his break in the seventh game to get back on serve at 3-4, and Menzies did the same to pull even with Skogeng at 3-3.
Backstrom responded by breaking back for a 5-3 lead on Koch, who had fought off a break point before succumbing to the junior from Sweden. At the same time, Kallberg was rallying against Pinheiro. Trailing 3-5, the sophomore scored a break to get back on serve at 5-4. The momentum was with the Rebels, especially Kallberg who went on to hold at Love. Koch looked to get back in his match with the fourth-straight break of the set, setting up a break point that would get him back on serve, but Backstrom again answered the call to pick up the 6-3 win and bring his team within a point of the victory. Menzies and Skogeng were trading breaks late in their final set, but the No. 6 match was on serve at 4-4. With the finish line in sight, Kallberg was rolling, breaking Pinheiro to go up 6-5 and serve for the set. Pinheiro fought off two match points, but Kallberg would not be denied, finishing off his improbable comeback to win the set 7-5 and deliver the team victory for Ole Miss.
The Gamecocks will look to get back on the winning track this weekend, hosting their final two matches of the regular season at Carolina Tennis Center. South Carolina will take on No. 14 Vanderbilt on Fri., April 12, at 5 p.m., before welcoming No. 8 Kentucky for Senior Day on Sun., April 14, at 1 p.m.
#7 Ole Miss 4, #20 South Carolina 2Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3*)
1. (21) Chip Cox/Tsvetan Mihov (SC) def. (67) Stefan Lindmark/Johan Backstrom (OM) 8-3
2. Jonas Lutjen/Adrian Skogeng (OM) def. (55) Kyle Koch/Harry Menzies (SC) 8-3
3. Thiago Pinheiro/Andrew Adams (SC) def. William Kallberg/Zach Wilder (OM) 8-3
Singles (Order of Finish: 1, 4, 2, 5, 3*)