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March 4, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 41 South Carolina men’s tennis opens SEC play with matches this weekend at No. 73 LSU and No. 52 Arkansas on Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Gamecocks enter league play with a 6-2 record after putting together a four-match win streak in their last series of home matches. Senior Diego Cubas is ranked No. 65 in singles this week, while he and doubles partner, sophomore Ivan Machado, are No. 45 in the nation.

Cubas leads the Gamecocks with a 13-6 singles record, including a 3-3 mark in the No. 1 singles position in dual matches. Senior Pedro Campos and freshman Alexander Kostanov boast the best dual-match record with matching 6-1 slates. Campos is 4-1 in the No. 2 spot and 2-0 in the No. 1 position. Kostanov has played three different spots this spring, mostly recently in the No. 3 slot where he is 3-0.

LSU is 2-5 heading into Friday’s 3 p.m. matchup with the Gamecocks. Sophomore Neal Skupski is No. 44 in the nation in singles behind an 11-10 overall record, playing largely in the No. 1 singles position. Sebastian Carlsson is 12-9 overall with a 2-5 record in dual-match play.

Arkansas enters the week with an 8-4 record and will host No. 7 Florida on Friday before the Gamecocks come to town. The Razorbacks have won their last four and junior Christopher Nutt is ranked No. 57 in the country in singles with a 14-7 overall record, including a 7-2 dual-match record playing in the No. 1 position. Two Arkansas doubles teams are among the nation’s elite as Nott and senior Dmitry Lebedev hold the No. 26 spot and seniors Taylor King and Bradwin Williams are ranked No. 56.

LSU leads the series with the Gamecocks 23-7 after winning the last five matchups, including two last season. The Tigers posted a 4-2 win over South Carolina in the 2009 SEC Tournament, following up their 5-1 regular-season win in Columbia.

South Carolina is 12-9 all-time against Arkansas and has won two of the last three. The Razorbacks claimed the regular-season matchup in 2009 with a 6-1 decision in Columbia.