Men's Tennis Drops 4-0 Decision at Alabama
April 12, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - No. 24 South Carolina suffered a 4-0 defeat at No. 15 Alabama in SEC men's tennis action at University of Alabama Tennis Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks got a win at No. 1 doubles, narrowly missing out on capturing the match's first point with an 8-5 loss by the No. 3 tandem before falling in the first three singles matches to finish. The Gamecocks fell to 15-8 overall and 3-7 in the SEC, while the Crimson Tide improved to 18-6 overall and 6-4 in league play.
South Carolina's top doubles team of Diego Cubas and Ivan Machado, ranked No. 28 in the nation, came out ahead of the country's 35th-ranked team of Mathieu Thibaudeau and Ricky Doverspike in a match that saw five service breaks. After the Gamecock duo picked up the final break at 4-4, they stayed on course for the 8-6 victory, which evened the doubles matches at one each with just the No. 3 match left to finish. The Gamecock duo of Jaime Cuellar and Johannes Pulsfort battled back from an 0-4 deficit, but could not close out the rally in an 8-5 loss to Andrew Felsenthal and Saketh Myneni, which gave the Crimson Tide the early 1-0 lead.
Alabama's Billy Mertz picked up the first singles victory with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Pulsfort in the No. 5 match, and Dan Buikema was close behind with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Cuellar in the No. 3 contest. The Crimson Tide players also won the first sets in each of the other four matches.
Machado battled back to win the second set of his No. 4 matchup against Michael Thompson in a tie-breaker, giving the Gamecocks life. But the match would come down to the No. 1 match between Cubas, ranked 52nd in the country, and No. 34 Myneni. The Alabama junior won the first set 6-4 with a service break in the final game. Cubas went up a break early in the second set and had to earn it right back after dropping his next service game. Leading 5-4 and serving for the set, Cubas suffered another break of serve, sparking a frustrated display that led to multiple code violations and a 7-5 second-set win for Myneni.
With the match decided, the remaining three matches were suspended.
South Carolina closes out its regular season with a home match against No. 10 Florida on Sat., April 18. The Gamecocks will honor their three seniors - Cuellar, Thomas Stoddard and Joe Veeder - prior to the 2 p.m. start of the match at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center.
No. 15 Alabama 4, No. 24 South Carolina 0Doubles: (Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3)
1. (28) Diego Cubas/Ivan Machado (SC) def. (35) Mathieu Thibaudeau/Ricky Doverspike (UA) 8-6
2. Dan Buikema/Billy Mertz (UA) def. Pedro Campos/Ivan Cressoni (SC) 8-5
3. Andrew Felsenthal/Saketh Myneni (UA) def. Jaime Cuellar/Johannes Pulsfort (SC) 8-5
Singles: (Order of Finish: 5, 3, 1)