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April 6, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 22nd-ranked USC men’s tennis team will host in-state rival and No. 24 Clemson on Wednesday afternoon in Columbia at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center, located next to Sarge Frye Field on the USC campus. The match is set to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Fans will be able to follow the match with live stats available on USC’s official website,

The Gamecocks are coming off a weekend of huge upsets, breezing by No. 17 Tennessee 6-1 on Friday, April 1, and knocking off No. 8 Georgia, 4-3, on Sunday.

Carolina (16-6, 5-3 SEC) comes into the rivalry match-up having won four of its last five matches, while Clemson (21-7) has lost four straight. USC is 13-3 against the Tigers since 1989. That year also marked the last time the Gamecocks dropped consecutive matches to CU (1988 & 1989).

Tom Eklund, this week’s SEC Player of the Week, has played No. 1 singles for USC nearly all season. In that time, he has collected four upsets of Top-20 players, including #13 John Isner of Georgia on Sunday and then-No. 5 Ken Skupski of LSU on March 6. Against Tennessee on Friday, Eklund rallied after losing the first set to #53 Mark Dietrich, and clinched the win for Carolina with a three-set victory over UT’s No. 1 singles player.

Freshman Jaime Cuellar, ranked No. 110, is off to the best start to a career in school history, having collected 24 singles wins on the year so far. Cuellar, a native of El Salvador, began the season on a 14-match winning streak, and has lost just two matches since the beginning of the team season. On Sunday, Cuellar was down 5-3 and three match points in the final singles match against Georgia, but came back to defeat #61 Matic Omerzel in a third set tiebreaker to seal the upset.

The doubles pair of Rodrigues and Knorr is coming off of an incredible weekend, having upset the No. 7 and No. 2 doubles teams in the nation. On Friday, the pair earned their first big win of the year, and handed seventh-ranked Oosthuzien and Rogers their first defeat of the year to clinch the doubles point for USC. Against Georgia, the duo handed Isner and Ruiz their first SEC loss of the season 8-6 to hand Carolina the all-important doubles point.

Carolina will travel to the state of Mississippi this weekend, to take on No. 4 Ole Miss and No. 15 Mississippi State. The match against the Rebels is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 8. The showdown in Starkville against the Bulldogs will begin at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 10. The Gamecocks return home on Saturday, April 16, for their regular season finale against SEC East rival Florida. The match against the seventh-ranked Gators, which will be Senior Day in Columbia, is set for 2 p.m.