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Jan. 28, 2006


Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s tennis team opened its 2006 dual match season in style on Saturday, sweeping Troy and Wofford at the Sam Daniels Tennis Center in Columbia. The Gamecocks (2-0, 0-0 SEC) opened with a pair of, 8-3, doubles wins over the Trojans and never looked back, dropping just three sets the rest of the day. The two 7-0 wins are the first shutouts by Carolina since it blanked Troy, 5-0, on Feb. 20, 2005.

Carolina earned both doubles points on the day, with Pedro Rodrigues and Geraldo Knorr winning two matches at No. 1 doubles, while Tom Eklund and Jaime Cuellar were perfect at No. 2 doubles.

In the morning match, Carolina easily defeated Troy, 7-0. The Gamecocks lost just a single set to the Trojans (1-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) and completed five of the six singles contests in just over an hour. Cuellar led the way with his 43-minute dismantling of Troy’s Marko Despot. The El Salvador native lost the first game on serve to Depot, but did not lose another on his way to a 6-1, 6-0 win over the Trojan senior.

The most exciting action of the day came at No. 1 singles, where Carolina’s Eklund faced Troy’s Irving Morales. The pair played a tight, back-and-forth first set, and were only in the second game of their second set when the last of the other five matches concluded. Eklund fell, 5-7, in the first set, but recovered and blew by Morales, 6-2, in the second set. Because the dual match had already been clinched, the two played a 10-point third set tiebreaker to decide the match. Morales jumped on Eklund early in the breaker, going up 4-1 and 6-4. Eklund stormed back however, and won six straight points to clinch his first win of 2006 and the shutout for the Gamecocks.

Against the Terriers (0-3, 0-0 SoCon), Carolina swept the top five singles matches in straight sets, including sophomore transfer Yevgeny Supeko’s impressive 6-0, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles over Wofford’s Alex Fridzon. Knorr kick-started his season on Saturday, as well, easing to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Richard Cahi on court four.

Carolina returns to action next Saturday, Feb. 4, when it hosts Appalachian State and Elon. The matches are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively. The contests will be held at the USC Indoor Facility, located on the corner of South Marion and Whaley Streets in Columbia.