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April 2, 2006


COLUMBIA, S.C. – After trailing 3-0, South Carolina rallied to defeat No. 40 Alabama, 4-3, on Sunday in Southeastern Conference men’s tennis action at the Sam Daniel Tennis Facility on the USC campus. Senior captain Tom Eklund’s 6-2, 6-4 victory over Joseph Jung at No. 1 singles secured Carolina’s second win of the weekend. The Gamecocks, ranked No. 56 in the latest Fila ITA Poll, are now 11-11 on the season and 3-5 in SEC matchces. Alabama fell to 9-10 overall and 2-6 in conference play.

South Carolina’s top four singles players turned in an impressive effort in Sunday’s victory. The Gamecocks fell behind, 1-0, after losing the doubles point and the Crimson Tide pulled ahead 3-0 with wins at Nos. 5 and 6 singles. Alabama would need just one win in the remaining four singles matches to claim the team victory, but the Gamecocks came roaring back.

Sophomore Yevgeny Supeko got South Carolina on the board with his 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Billy Mertz at No. 4 singles. On Court 2, sophomore Jaime Cuellar cut Carolina’s deficit to just one as he topped Javier Bes, 6-4, 6-2, at No. 2 singles.

Carolina tied the match, 3-3, with junior Pedro Rodrigues’ 6-3, 6-2, win against Mathieu Thibaudeau at No. 3 singles.

Eklund closed out the match with a 6-2, 6-4 victory after several deuce points in the final game against Jung. It marked the senior’s second win of the day as he teamed Rodrigues for am 8-7 (4) decision at No. 1 doubles.

With Sunday’s win, the Gamecocks completed a weekend sweep of the Alabama schools. USC defeated Auburn, 4-3, on Friday in Columbia. Carolina also beat the Crimson Tide for the second straight year and captured its 390th win at home.

South Carolina will play its final home match of the season on Friday, April 7, when the Kentucky Wildcats visit Columbia. The Gamecocks’ senor class will be honored at the match.