Jan. 20, 2006
Lexington, Ky. – South Carolina sophomore Yevgeny Supeko opened the 2006 season with a three-set win over Auburn’s Pawel Dilaj in the round of 64 at the SEC Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky. on Friday. Juniors Pedro Rodrigues and Dmitry Babenko fell in the first round, but will continue play in the consolation bracket on Saturday.
Supeko, who transferred to USC from Texas A&M this past summer, pulled off a tight first set win at 7-5 over Auburn’s freshman, before he dropped the second set by the same score. Supeko recovered in the deciding third set however and breezed by Dilaj 6-2 to advance to the round of 32. He will face the field’s No. 3 seed and 23rd-ranked Eric Claesson of Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon at the Lexington Tennis Club.
Rodrigues and Babenko were unlucky in Thursday’s draw, and faced the tournament’s top two seeds, respectively, on Friday. Rodrigues, who faced top-seeded John Isner of Georgia, was only able to win three games against the nation’s No. 2 player in a 6-1, 6-2 loss. Babenko was no better off facing 12th-ranked Strahinja Bobusic, also of UGA, and went down 6-0, 6-1 to the No. 2 seed in the field.
In late doubles action, Supeko and Babenko teamed up to defeat Ole Miss’ top duo of Eric Claesson and Juan Pablo Di Cesare 9-7 to advance to the round of 16. The Gamecock duo then took on the defending NCAA National Champion doubles team of Isner and Antonio Ruiz (Georgia). They could not pull of the upset however, and fell 8-3.
The SEC Indoor Championships will resume Saturday with the continuation of singles and doubles play, along with consolation matches in singles. Play begins at 1 p.m. at the Lexington Tennis Club and the Boone Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Kentucky.