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March 9, 2005


Las Vegas, Nevada – The South Carolina men’s tennis team continued its string of come-from-behind wins on Tuesday afternoon, defeating UNLV 4-3 in Las Vegas. The Gamecocks (12-3, 2-0 SEC) lost the doubles point 2-1, but came back to win four of the six singles matches to earn their third straight win of the season. The victory moves Carolina to 3-2 on the season against ranked opponents and 2-0 all time against the Runnin’ Rebels (7-3, 0-0 Mountain West). USC got singles wins from junior Geraldo Knorr, senior Ben Atkinson, freshman Jaime Cuellar, and the newly-named SEC Player of the Week, junior Tom Eklund.

The Rebels earned two close victories at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles, with Joel Kielbowicz and David Campbell defeating sophomore Pedro Rodrigues and Knorr at No. 1, 9-8 in a tiebreaker. At No. 2, Sean Hubbard and Henner Nehles edged Eklund and Cuellar 8-6 to seal the doubles point for UNLV, but Atkinson and sophomore Dmitry Babenko earned a doubles win by the same score on court three, defeating Jon Hooper and Martin Redelinghuys.

UNLV got on the board first in singles, extending their lead to 2-0 when No. 91 Kielbowicz defeated Rodrigues at No. 2 doubles, 6-2, 6-1. However, much like what happened against Arkansas last Friday, USC quickly erased that deficit and clinched the match with four straight singles victories. Knorr earned USCs first point and his first singles win in the last five matches, defeating Romain Massaro, 7-6(5), 6-0 at No. 2 singles. Cuellar evened the match, and extended his singles unbeaten streak to 14 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Campbell at No. 4 singles. USC would get the lead for good when Atkinson downed Redelinghuys at No. 6 singles, 6-3, 7-6. It was Atkinson’s third straight singles win and seventh win in his last eight matches. The Gamecocks would seal the match at 4-2 when USC’s only ranked player, and current SEC Player of the Week, Eklund, won his third straight match, edging past Nehles at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. The Rebels would pull back a point at No. 5 singles, when Hooper handed Babenko just his second loss of the year, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, but it would not be enough to keep USC from winning their 12th match of the year and taking a three-match winning streak into Friday afternoon’s showdown at Kentucky, their first SEC Eastern Division match and first SEC road match of the year.

The match with the 28th-ranked Wildcats in Lexington is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 11, at the Boone Tennis Complex. Kentucky (5-5, 0-2 SEC) is coming off of their own come-from-behind win on Tuesday, as they downed No. 65 Indiana 4-3 at home. USC will cap off their week when they host the Commodores of Vanderbilt on Sunday, March 13 in Columbia. The match is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center on the campus of South Carolina. The match is open to the public and admission is free. The courts are located on Heyward St. adjacent to Sarge Frye Field.