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April 8, 2005


Oxford, Miss. – The 22nd-ranked USC Gamecock men’s tennis team dropped just its second match in the last three weeks on Friday afternoon, going down 6-1 to the No. 4 Rebels of Mississippi in Oxford. Jaime Cuellar and Tom Eklund came from four games down to win at No. 2 doubles, clinching the doubles point for Carolina (17-7, 5-4 SEC).

In the doubles matches, Ole Miss (18-2, 8-1 SEC) came out strong, with Bram ten Berge and Jakob Klaeson defeating USC’s Ben Atkinson and Dmitry Babenko 8-2 at No. 3 doubles. Carolina would even the doubles score minutes later, as Pedro Rodrigues and Geraldo Knorr completed their third upset of a ranked doubles team this month at No. 1 doubles, knocking off 35th-ranked Catalin Gard and Eric Claesson 8-2. The Rebels looked poised to take the doubles point, as Ole Miss’ Fredrik Aarum and Erling Tveit had a 7-3 lead over the Gamecocks’ Tom Eklund and Jaime Cuellar at No. 2 doubles. USC’s biggest doubles comeback of the year would follow however, as Eklund and Cuellar won the next six straight games to clinch Carolina’s fifth doubles point in their last six matches. The Gamecock duo’s win allowed them to avoid losing two straight doubles matches for the first time this spring.

As the match turned to singles however, the defending SEC regular season champions would pull away to victory, sweeping the Gamecocks in all six singles matches. Carolina’s lone senior, Ben Atkinson dropped just his third match in the SEC at No. 6 singles, while freshman Jaime Cuellar, who has already claimed 25 singles wins this year, dropped just his third match of the season, falling to the nationally-ranked Tevit at No. 3 singles. Claesson would clinch the match and at least a share of the SEC West title for Ole Miss with his defeat of Rodrigues at No. 2 singles. In the featured No. 1 singles match, Carolina’s 41st-ranked Eklund would lose a close first set and then the match to sixth-ranked Gard, 7-5, 6-2. The loss drops Eklund to 2-2 this season against the Top-15.

The Gamecocks return to action Sunday afternoon, when they travel to Starkville, Miss. to take on Ole Miss’ in-state rival Mississippi State. The match at No. 15 MSU is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.(ET). Carolina trails the Bulldogs 11-5 in their all-time series, but the Gamecocks have taken five of the last eight off of MSU, including a win in the 1999 SEC Tournament and the last three matches in a row. Live scoring will be available on Mississippi State’s official website, USC returns home next weekend to wrap-up their regular season, when they host No. 9 Florida on Senior Day in Columbia. The match will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the Sam Daniel Tennis Facility. Live stats will be available for that match as well, at