FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With the Arkansas-South Carolina dual tied, 3-3, the match at No. 4 singles decided the victor in the Gamecocks’ favor as Johannes Pulsfort pulled out a 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(5) win over Dmitry Lebedev to clinch for the visitors at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center. Arkansas (10-10, 2-6) led 3-1 before South Carolina rallied to tie and, eventually, win the match.
“Today was tough,” head coach Robert Cox said. “It was very good tennis but it was tough especially with the lead we had. This is the kind of match that speaks to the strength of the SEC when you have teams with our records (2-6 and 1-7 in conference) that still push each other and produce quality tennis.”
Lebedev trailed in the second set, 5-2, after losing the first, but the Razorback sophomore won the next five games to force a third set. Lebedev and Pulsfort traded service breaks in the third before Lebedev found himself down triple match point on his own serve in the 12th game of the set. The Moscow, Russia, native fought off the match points to push the contest into the third-set tiebreaker.
Pulsfort jumped out to a three-point lead, but Lebedev earned the next four points to take the advantage, 4-3. However, the South Carolina freshman won four of the next five points to win the tiebreak, 7-5, and seal the victory for his team.
It was the third time this season Lebedev played in a dual-clinching match. He won matches at Hawaii and then-No. 33 Oklahoma earlier in the season to clinch victories for the Razorbacks.
For the first time during conference play this season, Arkansas claimed the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. At No. 3 doubles, Chris Nott and Taylor King defeated Pulsfort and Thomas Stoddard, 8-4. The team of Blake Strode and Matt Hogan won an 8-6 decision over Pedro Campos and Yevgeny Supeko at the top spot to clinch the first team point for the Razorbacks.
Diego Cubas and Ivan Cressoni led Lebedev and Colin Mascall, 7-5, when their match was suspended after the doubles point was decided.
South Carolina (9-9, 1-7) earned its first point when Cubas beat Mascall in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, at No. 2 singles to even the dual at 1-all.
The Razorbacks took a 3-1 lead with victories on courts five and six by Nott and Tyler Tarnasky, respectively. Nott defeated Cressoni, 6-2, 7-5, for his team-best 21st win of the season. Tarnasky rebounded from losing the first set to finish off David Wolff, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
At No. 1 singles, Supeko earned a 7-6(2), 7-6(5) win over Strode in a tight, two-set match that featured no breaks of serve. The South Carolina senior took advantage of early leads in each tiebreaker to win the match. Supeko’s victory set up the dual-clinching situation between Lebedev and Pulsfort.
The Razorbacks will travel to Mississippi next weekend to face Ole Miss and Mississippi State in their last road matches of the regular season. Arkansas’ regular-season home finale is April 13 at 12 p.m. against LSU. Log on to www.hogwired.com for more news about Razorback tennis.
#69 South Carolina 4, #41 Arkansas 3
March 30, 2008
1. Yevgeny Supeko (SC) def. #90 Blake Strode (UA), 7-6(2), 7-6(5)
2. Diego Cubas (SC) def. Colin Mascall (UA), 6-1, 6-3
3. Pedro Campos (SC) def. Matt Hogan (UA), 3-6, 6-2, 7-5
*4. Johannes Pulsfort (SC) def. Dmitry Lebedev (UA), 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(5)
5. Chris Nott (UA) def. Ivan Cressoni (SC), 6-2, 7-5
6. Tyler Tarnasky (UA) def. David Wolff (SC), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
1. Blake Strode/Matt Hogan (UA) def. Pedro Campos/Yevgeny Supeko (SC), 8-6
2. Diego Cubas/Ivan Cressoni (SC) led Colin Mascall/Dmitry Lebedev (UA), 7-5 (susp.)
3. Chris Nott/Taylor King (UA) def. Johannes Pulsfort/Thomas Stoddard (SC), 8-4
Order of Finish: Doubles (3, 1, – ); Singles (2, 5, 6, 3, 1, *4)
* – clinching match