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May 24, 2005

College Station, Texas –

2005 NCAA Singles Championships Draw

2005 NCAA Doubles Championships Draw
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The three members of the USC men’s tennis team participating in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships learned who they will face in the tournament when both fields’ draws were conducted this afternoon in College Station, Texas. In singles, junior Tom Eklund will face 11th-ranked and 9-16-seeded Benjamin Kohlloeffel of NCAA team-finalist UCLA, while Carolina’s doubles team of Pedro Rodrigues and Geraldo Knorr will take on 11th-ranked Thomas Shoeck and Luke Shields of Boise State. Both tournaments will take place on the 12 courts of the Mitchell Tennis Center on the campus of Texas A&M University, with singles beginning Wednesday morning and doubles kicking off Thursday afternoon.

Eklund has joined the ranks of Carolina’s elite players this season, becoming just the fourth Gamecock to be named first team All-SEC, joining Vladimir Pavicevic (1998), and All-Americans Guillaume Legat (1999, 2001) and Johan Sandberg (1994). The Hollviken, Sweden native also became the first ever USC player to be named SEC Athlete of the Week twice in a career, picking up the honor the weeks of March 7 and April 3. Eklund is currently ranked 35th by the ITA and has picked up impressive wins this season, defeating then-No. 5 Ken Skupski of LSU, No. 13 John Isner, and No. 22 Nathan Thompson.

With Rodrigues and Knorr into the 32-team field, Carolina has a doubles duo in the championships for the first time since 1998, coincidentally the last year USC made the Sweet 16 as a team before 2005. The 23rd-ranked duo, who both hail from Brazil, have picked up huge wins over ranked opponents this season, and have knocked off two of the eight seeded teams in the doubles championships, including the nation’s No. 1 pair of Isner and Antonio Ruiz of Georgia.

Despite facing highly unfamiliar foes in the first round, both Eklund and Rodrigues/Knorr have the possibility of fellow SEC opponents waiting for them in the second round. Eklund faces the prospect of a rematch with Skupski, while Rodrigues and Knorr could also face the LSU sophomore, but as a seeded doubles team with his partner Mark Growcott.

The Southeastern Conference is well represented in the singles and doubles fields, placing 11 individuals in the 64-strong singles championship, and having nearly a third (10 of 32) of the doubles field hailing from SEC institutions. Two players from the conference are seeded in singles, while half of the eight seeded doubles teams are SEC teams, including top-seeded Isner and Ruiz.

The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will both conclude Monday in College Station, with ESPN televising both finals, as well as the team final on a tape-delayed basis next week. Live scoring for all matches is available on the official tournament website,