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April 21, 2006

Tuscaloosa, Ala. –

The South Carolina men’s tennis team was eliminated by Florida in the SEC Quarterfinals on Saturday, dropping a 4-1 decision at the Alabama Tennis Center in Tuscaloosa. The Gamecocks (14-14, 5-6 SEC), who were facing the Gators (15-6, 8-3) for the second time in a week and the sixth time in three years, got wins from Tom Eklund and Pedro Rodrigues at No. 1 doubles and Yevgeny Supeko at No. 4 singles.

Florida got out to a quick lead in the doubles point, with Nestor Briceno and Janne Holmia defeating USC’s Adam Adler and Thomas Stoddard, 8-2, on court three. Carolina evened the point on court one, as Tom Eklund and Pedro Rodrigues won their fifth straight match and improved their record to 7-1 on the season with an 8-6 win over Vladimir Obradovich and Stefan Tell. With the point down to the match on court two, Carolina’s Yevgeny Supeko and Jaime Cuellar rallied from 7-5 down against Chris Brandi and Greg Ouellette to win three of the final four games and force a match tiebreaker at 8-8. The two duos traded points back and forth, but the Gamecock sophomores couldn’t complete the rally, and fell 8-6 in the breaker.

Florida carried the momentum from doubles into the singles matches, and took four of the six first sets. USC got its set wins from Cuellar at No. 2 singles over 34th-ranked Ouellette and from Supeko, who breezed by Tell in their first set at No. 4 singles, 6-1. The Gators were first on the board in singles, extend their lead to 2-0 with Brandi’s 6-2, 6-0 win over Babenko at No. 5 singles. Carolina fell behind, 3-0, after Adler was defeated by Sherry in straight sets on court six. The next match to finish would be on court four, where Supeko swept Tell in straight sets, picking up USC’s first point against Florida since a 5-2 defeat to the Gators on April 10, 2004. UF would clinch the quarterfinal win with Obradovich’s three-set, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Eklund at the top singles spot.

With the win, Florida will make its tenth appearance in the SEC semifinals, where it will meet third seed Ole Miss at 2 p.m. (CT) on Saturday. The Gamecocks will return to Columbia and await word of their destination for the first and second rounds of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. An invitation to the tournament would be Carolina’s 13th straight, a run that ranks sixth in the nation among active streaks. The 64-team field will be announced live on ESPN News (Time Warner Cable Ch. 147 in Columbia) at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, May 3.

#40 (7) South Carolina (14-14, 5-6 SEC) 1

#14 (2) Florida (15-6, 8-3 SEC) 4


1. #47 Tom Eklund/Pedro Rodrigues (SC) def. Vladimir Obradovich/Stefan Tell (F) 8-6

2. Chris Brandi/Greg Ouellette (F) def. Yevgeny Supeko/Jaime Cuellar (SC) 9-8(8-6)

3. Nestor Briceno/Janne Holmia (F) def. Adam Adler/Thomas Stoddard (SC) 8-2

Order of Completion: 3, 1, 2

Florida wins the doubles point


1. #69 Vladimir Obradovich (F) vs. Tom Eklund (SC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

2. #34 Greg Ouellette (F) vs. Jaime Cuellar (SC) 4-6, 6-3, 2-2 (susp.)

3. #52 Nestor Briceno (F) vs. Pedro Rodrigues (SC) 6-7(4-7), 6-1, 3-2 (susp.)

4. Yevgeny Supeko (SC) def. Stefan Tell (F) 6-1, 6-3

5. Chris Brandi (F) vs. Dmitry Babenko (SC) 6-2, 6-0

6. Ryan Sherry (F) vs. Adam Adler (SC) 6-4, 6-2

Order of Completion: 5, 6, 4, 1*

* Clinched Match

Time of Match: 4:07