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Jan. 30, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 43 South Carolina men’s tennis participates in the ITA Kickoff Weekend event in Knoxville, Tenn., this weekend, beginning with a 9 a.m. match on Sun., Jan. 31 against No. 48 VCU. The Gamecocks will play Just click on the match on the men’s tennis schedule, then click on the “Live Results” link on the right.

The Gamecocks are coming off a 6-1 loss at Georgia Tech last weekend that has them 1-1 early in the season. Seniors Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos took their Nos. 1 and 2 singles matches, respectively, into three sets but could not tally any additional points for the Gamecocks against the then-No. 43 Yellow Jackets. The two will look for a different outcome in those singles spots against VCU. Sophomore Ivan Machado, who is the only Gamecock with a pair of singles victories in the team’s two dual matches, will play the No. 3 position this weekend. Junior Johannes Pulsfort, freshman Alexander Kostanov and senior Ivan Cressoni are scheduled to round out the Gamecock singles lineup.

VCU enters the event with a 4-0 record after hosting a tournament last weekend. Krisztin Krocsko and Filip Svensson lead the Rams with 11 singles victories each, while senior Thibaut Charron is 7-3 as the Rams’ No. 1 singles player after reaching the fourth round of the ITA Mid-East Regional in the fall.

Five Volunteers are ranked among the nation’s top 70 singles players, starting with junior John-Patrick Smith holding the No. 2 ranking. Tennessee used a variety of doubles lineups in the fall and three of those combinations are among the nation’s top 15. Smith and Boris Conkic top the list in the No. 4 spot, while Smith and Davey Sandgren are just behind in the No. 7 position.

Utah opened its 2010 season with a 4-3 win over Utah State after finishing the 2008-09 campaign with a 16-9 overall record. Senior Phillip Eilers leads the Utes in the singles lineup after he advanced to the finals of the ITA Mountain Regional Championships this fall. Eilers and doubles partner Alex Golding also reached the final of the event.

South Carolina is a combined x-x against the three teams in this event. The Gamecocks hold a 2-1 edge on VCU after a 4-1 win over the then-No. 16 Rams in the 1997 NCAA Region II semifinal. Tennessee leads the series with South Carolina 26-18 having won the last three meetings. The Gamecocks defeated Utah in their only previous matchup, a 6-2 decision in the 1985 season.