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March 8, 2010

Coach Elkins

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Following a pair of wins to open SEC play, the South Carolina women’s tennis team (6-3, 2-0 SEC) will host Wake Forest on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center.

The Gamecocks began last week with a 5-2 victory over No. 20 USF. South Carolina stormed out of the gates by sweeping all three matches in doubles and then won on courts one, two, five and six in singles. The match began outdoors but with four matches going to three sets and darkness setting in, play moved inside and three of the contests went to Carolina. Madeleine Saari-Byström clinched the match on court four after trailing 5-3 in the third and 40-0 on her opponent’s serve to win 7-5.

South Carolina got off to a slow start versus LSU by losing the doubles point, but answered strong in the singles competition. The Gamecocks’ only loss came at the No. 4 spot in three sets en route to a 5-2 win. Dijana Stojic provided the clinching point for South Carolina at two singles with a 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-1 triumph over Kaitlin Burns.

A dominant 6-1 performance against No. 15 Arkansas capped off an outstanding week of play for Carolina. A tight decision in doubles saw South Carolina sneak away with the point after its No. 3 duo of Anya Morgina and Adriana Pereira escaped with a 9-8(5) win to give the Gamecocks the early lead. South Carolina then won every position except for court four, and four of their five wins came in straight sets. Morgina provided the fourth point, coming back from a 5-3 deficit in the second set to Emily Carbone on court three to win 6-3, 7-5.

During the course of the week, Stojic and Ana Marija Zubori grabbed a pair of wins at No. 1 doubles against the 15th- and 18th-ranked doubles tandems in the country. Stojic and Zubori, who are unranked, helped the Gamecocks win the doubles point against USF and Arkansas with their victories. The Gamecocks’ top duo is 6-3 this season and 9-3 overall.

Zubori hit a milestone in her career against LSU by winning her 100th career singles match to become just the third player in school history to hit the century mark. With 101 now to her credit, Zubori stands just two shy of tying Lynn-Yin Tan for second place. Rita Winebarger, who starred for South Carolina from 1984 to 1988, holds the school’s record for victories with 127. Zubori also moved in to fourth place on South Carolina’s all-time list for combined singles and doubles wins with 176. She sits in sixth place for doubles wins with 75 as well.

The Demon Deacons enter Tuesday’s match on the heels of a 5-2 loss to North Carolina State in their ACC opener. Wake Forest is 5-5 overall for the season with wins against Elon, Wofford, Charlotte, Furman and Florida International. In addition to N.C. State, Wake has dropped matches to VCU, Yale, DePaul and Indiana.

Tuesday marks the 20th all-time meeting between South Carolina and Wake Forest. The two played last year in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., and the Demon Deacons were the first of three teams to fall to the Gamecocks during their run to the quarterfinals. South Carolina holds a slight edge in the series at 10-9 and the schools have split the last six match-ups.

After Wake Forest, South Carolina returns to SEC play Friday when it takes on Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the Gamecocks play at Auburn at 2 p.m.