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Jan. 22, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – The USC men’s tennis team will open its 2005 season Sunday afternoon against the Elon Phoenix (1-0, 0-0 Southern Conf.). The Gamecocks are 29-2 all-time in season openers, and have won 17 straight, dating back to a loss at UCLA in 1986. Carolina competed in five tournaments this fall, highlighted by appearances at the ITA Mideast Regionals in Chapel Hill, N.C., and at the SEC Indoor Coaches Championships in New Orleans. USC and Elon have met just once before, with that encounter coming in 1995. USC won the match 4-1 in Columbia, en route to an appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament.

The Gamecocks are led by junior Tom Eklund and sophomore Pedro Rodrigues. Eklund, who posted a 10-4 record during fall singles play, will play No. 1 for USC. Rodrigues, ranked No. 110 in the nation by the ITA, leads a group of youngsters, including freshmen Jaime Cuellar and Dimitry Babenko.

Elon, who is coming off a season opening win over Gardner-Webb on Friday, is scheduled to take the court against USC at 2:00 p.m. The match will take place at the USC Indoor Tennis Facility, inside the USC Field House.