April 14, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 35 South Carolina swept the doubles matches against No. 10 Florida before falling to the Gators 6-1 Saturday afternoon at Ring Tennis Complex. All three doubles teams were firing on all cylinders, led by sophomores Chip Cox and Nick Jones who teamed up to upend the nation's ninth-ranked tandem in a tiebreaker to clinch the point for the Gamecocks.
Continuing their late-season dominance in doubles, the Gamecocks opened the match quickly as freshmen Kyle Koch and Carl Eguez shook off a pair of difficult outings last weekend to get back to their winning ways with an 8-6 win over Michael Alford and Andrew Butz. The other two matches were coming down to the wire as neither team could wrest control of the contests. The headliner of the group was the matchup between No. 32 Cox/Jones and ninth-ranked Billy Federhofer and Nassim Slilam of Florida. The teams battled back and forth until an 8-8 tie yielded a tiebreak to decide the outcome. The Gamecock duo jumped out early and did not led its elite opponent back in the match, winning the set 9-8 (3). With the doubles point decided and the No. 2 match between the Gamecocks' Brazilian tandem of Ivan Machado and Thiago Pinheiro and Florida's Spender Newman and Bob van Overbeek tied at 7-7, the teams played a tiebreak to settle the outcome. Again, South Carolina's duo struck first and kept up the pressure to win 8-7 (3).
With four players ranked in the nation's top 65 in singles, Florida wasted little time recovering from the doubles setback, winning five of the six first sets with at least one service break. For the Gamecocks, Jones provided the most significant obstacle for his opponent, No. 53 Tripper Carleton in the No. 2 match. The South Carolina sophomore stretched Carleton into a tiebreak in the first set before falling 7-6 (1). The veteran Florida team kept the pressure on the more inexperienced Gamecocks to pick up their seventh SEC win of the season.
South Carolina closed the regular season with a 15-10 overall record and a 2-9 SEC record and will head into next week's SEC Tournament. The event in Starkville, Miss., runs April 19-22 A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre at Mississippi State University.
No. 10 Florida 6, No. 35 South Carolina 1Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2)
1. (32) Chip Cox/Nick Jones (SC) def. (9) Billy Federhofer/Nassim Slilam (UF) 9-8 (3)
2. Ivan Machado/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) def. Spencer Newman/Bob van Overbeek (UF) 8-7 (3)
3. Kyle Koch/Carl Eguez (SC) def. Michael Alford/Andrew Butz (UF) 8-6
Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 1, 6, 5, 3, 2)
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