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Feb. 20, 2005


Columbia, S.C. – The USC men’s tennis team continued its winning streak on Sunday, defeating the Troy Trojans 5-0 at the USC Indoor Tennis Facility. The match against the Trojans (2-6, 1-0 A-Sun), originally scheduled for the outdoor courts of the Sam Daniels Tennis Center, was moved inside because of rain before the match had begun. Carolina (8-1, 0-0 SEC), now on a four-match winning streak, will take on the Georgia Southern Eagles at 2:30 p.m. in the second half of Sunday’s doubleheader.

In doubles action, USC sophomore Pedro Rodrigues and junior Geraldo Knorr earned their first win of the season, defeating Troy’s Marko Despot and Robert Van Swelm, 8-6, at the No. 1 position. There was little to separate the two pairs, as neither led by more than two games the entire match. At No. 2 doubles, junior Tom Eklund and freshman Jaime Cuellar’s rally was not enough, as the Trojans’ Daniel Quiceno and Emir Basic pulled out an 8-5 win. The match, which paired Eklund and Cuellar for the first time this spring, was Cuellar’s first doubles loss this season. In the final doubles match, USC’s Ben Atkinson and Dmitry Babenko took on Troy’s Artur Muller and Irving Morales. There was never much between the two tandems, as Atkinson and Babenko lost the first game and then reeled off eight straight to get the 8-1 win in just over 25 minutes.

USC continued its momentum from doubles as the match moved to the singles competition. At No. 2 singles, Carolina sophomore Pedro Rodrigues made quick work of Troy’s Despot, winning 6-0, 6-3. The only drama came when Despot threw his racket down for the second time in three games, earning a game penalty to give Rodrigues a 4-1 lead in the second set. On court three, Gamecock junior Geraldo Knorr played a highly competitive match with the Trojans’ Quiceno. Knorr came back from 3-0 down in the second set to earn a 6-4, 7-5 win. The clinching match came at No. 4 singles, with Atkinson facing Troy’s Basic. Atkinson started the match off with a 3-0 advantage and never trailed in the 6-4, 6-4 win. With the match clinched, Eklund and Morales played a tiebreaker to decide the match at No. 1 singles. Eklund, playing for just the second time in three weeks, began the tiebreak just like he began the first set, getting out to a quick lead and never looking back. Morales was able to win four points in the tiebreaker, but it was too little, too late as Eklund sealed the match with an ace.

The 41st-ranked Gamecocks will take on Georgia Southern (1-6, 0-0 SoCon) at 2:30 in the second half of their final doubleheader of the year. The match against the Eagles will be played indoors due to a rainy forecast for the remainder of the afternoon.