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Feb. 28, 2006


Winston-Salem, N.C. – The South Carolina men’s tennis team, playing without two key starters, snapped its five-match losing streak Tuesday, with an impressive 4-3 upset of No. 13 Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. The win is the Gamecocks’ (7-5, 0-0 SEC) first over a Top-15 opponent this season, and marks Carolina’s 10th win in its last 11 matches with the Demon Deacons and second in a row. USC used its ninth doubles point in 12 matches this season and sophomore Jaime Cuellar’s win at No. 2 singles to clinch the upset.

The doubles point has worked in Carolina’s favor all season long, and Tuesday was no exception. The Gamecocks took an early 1-0 lead in the point with Tom Eklund and Cuellar’s 8-2 win over Marius Adamski and Cory Parr at No. 2 doubles. Wake Forest would level the point with their 8-4 win on court three, but USC’s 47th-ranked duo of Yevgeny Supeko and Geraldo Knorr took a 9-7 victory over Deacon sophomores Todd Paul and Andrew Hamar at No. 1 doubles to earn the Gamecocks their ninth doubles point of the year.

Singles would be a battle between the two border rivals however, as the match would be tied three times, with a lead change as well, before all was said and done. Wake Forest evened the match at 1-1 with Brett Ross defeating Carolina redshirt freshman Thomas Stoddard at No. 5 singles, 6-2, 6-3. USC would go back into the lead with Supeko’s straight set win over Adamski at No. 3 singles, but the Deacons tied it up again with 15th-ranked Paul’s 6-4, 6-3 win over Eklund at No. 1 singles. Wake would then take its only lead of the contest as Parr downed USC senior Knorr at No. 4 singles. The loss is just the third of the season for the Florianopolis, Brazil native, and his first since the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships two weeks ago.

With USC trailing, 3-2, in the match, only two singles matches remained on court, with Carolina senior Adam Adler and Liron Strauss competing at No. 6 singles, while Cuellar and Hamar dueled on court two. Adler and Strauss split the opening two sets, and the third came down to a third set tiebreaker. The breaker was equally as close as the entire match had been, with Adler claiming just a single break off of Strauss, but that was enough to clinch the match-tying point for the Gamecocks.

Cuellar, who led the team in wins last season and clinched six matches for the Gamecocks, continued his record of clutch performances, winning the first set, 6-3, over 64th-ranked Hamar, and taking the final set in a tiebreaker to secure Carolina’s first Top 15 win since it upset No. 13 Oklahoma State in the second round of last season’s NCAA Tournament.

South Carolina returns to action this weekend, Mar. 3-5, when it opens its 2006 Southeastern Conference slate with a pair of home contests against Mississippi State (Friday, 2 p.m.) and Ole Miss (Sunday, 1 p.m.).