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March 29, 2007

The No. 58 South Carolina men’s tennis team makes its Alabama road swing this weekend. Carolina will face No. 44 Auburn on Friday, March 30, before a showdown with No. 16 Alabama on Sunday, April 1, in Tuscaloosa. Fans can follow both matches live on the world wide web. Links will be posted here at

The Gamecocks own a 11-7 overall record and a 2-4 mark in Southeastern Conference matches. USC is coming off a split last weekend – falling to No. 10 LSU, 4-0, on Friday but rebounding for a 4-3 win over Arkansas on Sunday in Columbia. Against the Razorbacks, Carolina dropped the doubles point but rallied to win four singles matches. Junior Yevgeny Supeko won at No. 2 singles and the Gamecocks got singles wins from a trio of freshmen in the middle of the lineup. Pedro Campos was victorious at No. 3 singles, Ivan Cressoni picked up a win at No. 4 and David Wolff cruised at No. 5.

Supeko leads South Carolina with a 21-5 singles record. He is 13-1 this spring and has played all of his matches in the No. 1, 2 or 3 singles positions. Supeko’s only loss came to No. 44 Danny Bryan of LSU. Supeko is ranked No. 117 nationally, according to the most recent Fila Collegiate Tennis rankings (March 20).

Auburn is 9-7 and 2-4 in the SEC entering Friday’s match with the Gamecocks. When looking at the Tigers’ record, there are no big surprises. The team has defeated opponents they should have as have no big upset wins. The Tigers and Gamecocks have similar results against common opponents this season. Both teams won victories over Georgia Tech, Mississippi State and Troy while losing to Ole Miss, Georgia and Tennessee. In the singles, No. 50 Robert Lathouwers has compiled a 13-3 overall record through the spring season, including a 5-1 mark in SEC play. Lathouwers has also combined with Lukas Marsoun to post a 6-2 at No. 1 doubles.

The Tigers have a slight advantage in the all-times series with 12 wins to the Gamecocks’ 10. In 2006, South Carolina won a tight 4-3 match in Columbia end Auburn’s three-match win streak vs. the Gamecocks.

No. 16 Alabama comes into this weekend’s matches sporting a 13-5 record, including a 3-3 mark in conference play. The Crimson Tide is in the middle of one of its toughest part of the schedule, which has left the team with a three-game losing streak. The squad has most recently lost to No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 22 Tennessee and No. 1 Georgia, and will play host to No. 15 Florida on Friday before its showdown with Carolina. Alabama fared well in the early part of the spring, highlighted by its most impressive win of the season, a 4-3 victory over then-No. 7 Ole Miss.

Alabama is led by senior Joseph Jung, who is ranked No. 89 nationally. Jung has compiled a 4-10 record in the No. 1 singles position. Matthieu Thibaudeau is also ranked No. 121 for the Crimson Tide. In addition, the doubles combination of Dan Buikema and Thibaudeau have also earned a national ranking, sitting at No. 28 in the country, after recording an 11-7 record at the first doubles position. The duo has played in every match at the first doubles position for Alabama this season.

The South Carolina-Alabama series is also a close one. The Crimson Tide lead, 15-12, but the Gamecocks have won the last two meetings, including a 4-3 contest in Columbia last season.