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April 7, 2006

Results | Quotes

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina’s seniors ended their home careers in style on Friday, as the men’s tennis team breezed by No. 21 Kentucky, 4-1, at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center. Seniors Tom Eklund, Adam Adler and Geraldo Knorr were honored prior to the final home match of their careers. Eklund put Carolina (12-11, 4-5 SEC) in front, 2-1, with his victory at No. 1 singles, and Adler clinched the upset for USC with his win at No. 6 singles. The win was the third straight for the Gamecocks and dropped the Wildcats to 15-6 overall, 6-3 in SEC play.

Doubles began at a frantic pace for both sides, as Carolina’s Jaime Cuellar and Pedro Rodrigues raced out to a 6-1 lead over Nate Emge and Greg Johnstone, and downed the duo 8-2 at No. 2 doubles. Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Bruno Agostinelli and Kenny Hodge quickly downed USC’s Thomas Stoddard and Joseph Veeder 8-1 on court three. The point would come down to court one, where Eklund and Pedro Rodrigues were facing Alex Hume and Marcus Sundh. The Gamecock pair raced out to a 6-1 lead, but Hume and Sundh rallied, winning seven of the next eight games to send the match into a tiebreaker at 8-8. In the breaker, the two sides traded points to 2-2, but Eklund and Rodrigues fell just short, falling 7-2 in the breaker to give UK the point.

After a brief team meeting following doubles, the Gamecocks came out roaring in singles, with sophomore Yevgeny Supeko easily defeating Carey Rubin at No. 4 singles, 6-1, 6-2. With the match even at one point apiece, Eklund stepped up and finished off his 15th singles win of the year, upsetting 56th-ranked Alex Hume, 6-4, 6-2, to put USC up 2-1. With the lead, Carolina never looked back, as Cuellar and Adler earned their wins less than 60 seconds later. Cuellar, who trailed 2-1 in the second set against No. 58 Agostinelli, won the final five games of his set, taking the match, 6-4, 6-2. The final point for the Gamecocks would come on court six, as Adler won the final three games of his match to seal Carolina’s first win over the Wildcats since 2001.

With the win, USC moves within half a match of Arkansas for sixth place in the SEC overall standings. A Razorback win against Auburn on Friday would leave Carolina in sole possession of seventh place, but if the Tigers upset Arkansas, the Gamecocks would be alone in the sixth spot, heading into Sunday’s matches. USC will travel to Vanderbilt on Sunday, facing the Commodores in a noon match at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville. The link to live stats will be available at Carolina’s official website,