March 26, 2006
Fayetteville, Ark. – South Carolina’s men’s tennis team continued to suffer from injuries on Sunday, falling, 4-0, to SEC West rival Arkansas at the Dill Indoor Facility in Fayetteville, Ark. The Gamecocks’ (9-11, 1-5 SEC) No. 1 singles player, senior Tom Eklund, had to retire from his singles match at LSU on Friday due to injury, and was unable to go at all in singles on Sunday afternoon, forcing Carolina to forfeit a singles match to the No. 16 Razorbacks (12-6, 3-3).
The Gamecocks knew they needed the doubles point on the road against a Top 20 SEC opponent, but were unable to secure any doubles victories, with the Razorbacks’ Matt Roberts and Rohan Gajjar taking an 8-3 decision over Eklund and sophomore Jaime Cuellar at the top doubles spot, while USC’s Thomas Stoddard and Joseph Veeder went down by the same score against Austin King and Colin Mascall on court three.
Already leading 2-0 in the match through the doubles point and Eklund’s injury, Arkansas extended its lead to three with Blake Strode’s straight set win over Stoddard at No. 4 singles. The Razorbacks would clinch the match soon after, as 49th-ranked Roberts downed Carolina junior Pedro Rodrigues, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 2 singles. USC’s Cuellar was putting up quite a fight against 13th-ranked Adrians Zguns at No. 1 singles however, and was on serve early in the second set after falling in a first-set tiebreak, before the remainder of the singles matches were halted following UA’s win on court two.
Carolina returns to the court this weekend, when it hosts Auburn and Alabama at the Sam Daniels Tennis Facility, located on campus, adjacent to Sarge Frye Field on Heyward St. The Gamecocks’ match against the No. 51 Tigers is slated for a 2 p.m. start on Friday, March 31, while first serve between USC and the 43rd-ranked Crimson Tide is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. The matches are two-thirds of the Gamecocks’ final home stand of 2006, which wraps up the following Friday, April 7, when USC hosts Kentucky in a Senior Day contest, scheduled for 2 p.m.