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Oct. 29, 2009

Coach DeMars

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis welcomes Auburn, Louisville and North Carolina to Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center this weekend for the South Carolina Fall Invitational. The three-day tournament begins at 10 a.m. on Fri., Oct. 30, and has the same start time Saturday. Sunday’s action will be split between two sites with the Gamecocks playing at Maxcy Gregg beginning at 11 a.m.

“This tournament may be the best field we face this fall because all four teams should start the spring season with a good national rank,” South Carolina head coach Kent DeMars said. “This weekend’s matches will let us know where we are because so many of the opposing players have a preseason ranking, which gives our players an opportunity to make a move in the rankings as well.”

South Carolina is coming off a strong showing at the ITA/Wilson Carolina Regional in Chapel Hill two weeks ago as senior Diego Cubas advanced to the final in the singles bracket and teamed with sophomore Ivan Machado to reach the doubles semifinals. Ranked No 28 in the nation in singles, Cubas is 7-1 this fall. The Cubas/Machado doubles team is ninth in the nation behind a 3-2 fall slate.

Louisville brings the deepest team on paper as the Cardinals boast three nationally-ranked singles players and a top-10 doubles duo. Junior Austen Childs paces the squad with a No. 12 singles ranking and teams with junior Simon Childs to form the nation’s No. 10 doubles team. Simon Childs brings a No. 72 singles rank to Columbia, while junior Viktor Maksimcuk comes in at No. 62 in the preseason rankings.

Southeastern Conference rival Auburn is led by junior Tim Puetz, who is ranked No. 54 in the nation and won the singles title at the ITA/Wilson South Regional last weekend. With sophomore Alex Stamchev, Puetz was also the winner of the event’s doubles title. The duo is ranked No. 21 in the nation.

North Carolina brings a pair of ranked singles players into the tournament, both of whom faced off against Cubas in the Carolina Regional two weeks ago. Senior Clay Donato, ranked No. 16 in the country, won the event with a three-set win over Cubas in the final to avenge junior Stefan Hardy’s loss to the Gamecocks’ top player in the quarterfinals. Hardy entered the season as the nation’s No. 110-rated singles player. The two Tar Heels combine to form the No. 29 doubles team in the nation.

Admission is free to all three days of the tournament, which features six singles and three doubles flights. The Gamecocks will begin play at 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.