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Jan. 16, 2005

New Orleans, La. – After a strong run in the 2005 SEC Indoor Tennis Championships in New Orleans, Gamecocks junior Tom Eklund fell in his second match of the day, Saturday, 6-3, 6-4 to Alex Hume of Kentucky. Carolina’s senior Ben Atkinson and freshman Jaime Cuellar, who lost their first-round singles matches on Friday, both won their consolation matches late Saturday.

Eklund, who is Carolina’s No. 1 seed this season, was coming off of a 7-5, 6-2 upset win over Auburn’s No. 1, Gabor Zoltan-Pelva, who was ranked in the Top 10 in the nation during the preseason by the ITA.

“Tom going that far was pretty good, especially having gotten a good win over a premier player from Auburn, and having to play two matches in one day this early in the season,” said USC Head Coach Kent DeMars. “Very few guys are in good enough shape to do that at this point. I was pleased with his performance.”

USC senior Ben Atkinson, who was participating in his only his second singles match since shoulder surgery last May, earned his 52nd career singles victory in the consolation bracket, beating Mississippi State’s Arnaud Roussel, 6-3, 5-7, (10-6).

“It was great to see Ben get another match in, especially coming off the surgery. It was really nice to see him get a quality win like that as well,” said DeMars

Gamecocks freshman Jaime Cuellar earned his first career SEC win in the consolation bracket Saturday, besting Kentucky’s Marcus Sundh, 6-3, 6-4.

“Jaime was able to beat another freshman from Kentucky today, and it was great to see him get his first SEC win,” said DeMars.

The SEC Coaches Indoor Championships will resume Sunday with the quarterfinals and semifinals of both the singles and doubles brackets. The finals are scheduled for Monday morning at the Hilton Riverside Racquet Club.

South Carolina, ranked 38th in the first ITA poll of the season, will open the non-conference portion of its 2005 team season next Sunday, Jan. 23, at the USC Indoor Tennis Facility, in Columbia. The match against Elon University is scheduled for 2 p.m.