April 10, 2007
The No. 59 South Carolina men’s tennis team faces No. 20 Clemson Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center in Columbia. In case of inclement weather, the match will be played the USC Indoor Fieldhouse. The first 50 fans to arrive at the match will receive a free “Beat Clemson” t-shirt, courtesy of the South Carolina marketing department. This is the fourth Atlantic Coast Conference team South Carolina has played this season. The Gamecocks are 1-2 vs. the ACC.
Live scoring is available for Wednesday’s match online at USCsports.com. On the main page, links can be found in the weekly calendar on the right-hand side.
The Gamecocks (11-11, 2-8 SEC) lost a pair of conference matches over the weekend. Carolina fell to No. 59 Kentucky, 4-2, in Lexington and then fell to No. 41 Vanderbilt, 5-2, at home in Columbia. Against the Wildcats, the Gamecocks won the doubles point for the eighth time this season, but were only able to muster one singles victory before Kentucky clinched the match. It was extremely close with two three-set matches and five sets that went to tiebreaker. Freshman Ivan Cressoni improved to 6-0 when splitting sets by defeating Jorge Jorge. On Sunday vs. Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks got a pair of singles wins from Yevgeny Supeko and Pedro Campos. Supeko knocked off 46th-ranked Ryan Preston, 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (4) at No. 1. Campos pulled out a three-set win over Evan Dufaux, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) at No. 3. The Gamecocks fell six spots in the Fila Collegiate Tennis rankings to come in at No. 59 this week.
Clemson is 24-8 overall and 4-5 in the ACC. The Tigers are ranked No. 20. Most recently, Clemson collected wins over No. 11 Wake Forest, 4-3, and No. 20 NC State, 6-1, last week. The Tigers have three singles player who currently listed in the rankings. Rob Bizjak is No. 113, Ryan Young is No. 116 and Clement Reix is No. 122. In addition, Young and Reix are ranked No. 39 in doubles.
South Carolina and Clemson have eight common opponents this season. Both Palmetto State teams own victories over Samford and Charleston Southern. The Gamecocks defeated Georgia Tech, 4-3, while the Tigers fell to the Yellow Jackets, 4-3. USC dropped a 4-2 match to Wake Forest and Clemson knocked off the Demon Deacons, 4-3. Carolina and Clemson have both suffered losses to No. 15 Alabama, No. 41 Vanderbilt, No. 1 Georgia and No. 5 North Carolina (current rankings listed).
South Carolina holds a 23-15 advantage in the all-time series with Clemson. The Tigers currently own a two-match win streak in the series after going 2-0 against the Gamecocks in 2006. Carolina fell to Clemson, 6-1, in the regular season meeting on the road. The two teams met again in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C., and the Tigers came away with the 4-1 victory. Under head coach Kent DeMars, the Gamecocks are 17-10 vs. Clemson. Since a nine-match Carolina win streak from 1996-2003, the Tigers have won three of the last four matches. The Gamecocks last victory came in 2005, 6-1, in Columbia.
SEC Tourney on the Horizon
South Carolina will play its regular season finale on Saturday, April 14, against the Florida Gators. Match time is slated for 1 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center in Columbia. The Gamecocks will participate in the 2007 Southeastern Conference Tournament, which runs April 19-22 in Baton Rouge, La.
Cool Under Pressure
South Carolina has been in its share of close matches over the last three seasons and all have produced the same results — wins. Dating back to the end of the 2004 season, coach Kent DeMars’ Gamecocks are 15-0 in matches decided by a 4-3 score. Carolina is 4-0 in 4-3 contests in 2007 with wins over Georgia Tech (Feb. 27), Mississippi State (March 4), UNLV (March 15) and Arkansas (March 25). In 2006, the team had a 4-0 record in matches decided by the same score. In addition, the 2005 squad produced a 6-0 record in 4-3 matches. Amazingly, all 13 of the victories came against ranked opponents, three of which were among the top 15. Five of those matches were against top-25 teams.
Junior Yevgeny Supeko and freshman Pedro Campos share the team lead with 22 singles victories to date. Supeko, who led the Gamecocks with 18 singles wins a year ago, is currently 22-8 overall and 14-4 in dual matches while playing in the top half of Carolina’s singles lineup. Campos is 22-13 overall and 12-9 in dual matches. The rookie has played at No. 1, 2 and 3 singles.
Senior Pedro Rodrigues is listed as match-to-match with a shoulder injury that will require surgery at the conclusion of the season. Junior Jaime Cuellar suffered a knee injury on Feb. 4 and is out for the remainder of the season.
Youth is Served
The 2006-07 South Carolina men’s tennis team is a youthful one. The current available roster includes four freshman, one redshirt sophomore, two juniors and one senior. The Gamecocks’ typical singles lineup features four true freshmen.
Defending the Home Turf
Historically, the Gamecocks have been a tough out at home. All-time, South Carolina has collected a 417-131 record playing at home for a .767 winning percentage. That record includes a 9-6 mark in Columbia this season.