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April 1, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 38 South Carolina men’s tennis wraps up its four-match road swing this weekend at No. 10 Kentucky and No. 35 Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks (9-7, 1-5 SEC) and Wildcats will square off on Fri., Apr. 2, at 4 p.m. before South Carolina closes the road trip against the Commodores on Sun., Apr. 4, at 2 p.m. (ET).

Jumping 10 spots in the national rankings after winning three of their last four matches, the Gamecocks look to continue the momentum this week. South Carolina has found that success by winning the doubles point to claim an early lead in all three wins during the stretch. The Gamecocks’ No. 1 duo of seniors Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos have both won each of their last four matches, including three over ranked opponents to make their season debut in the national rankings this week at No. 66. The newly-formed Carolina No. 2 tandem of senior Ivan Cressoni and sophomore Ivan Machado have won both their matches since debuting against then-No. 33 Clemson.

Kentucky enters Friday’s match with a 14-6 overall record and a 4-2 mark in SEC action. Just five of the Wildcats’ matches this season have come against teams not ranked in the top 51 in the nation, and they have suffered just one loss to a team ranked outside the top 10. Kentucky has ceded more than two points in its victories only three times, all of which were before mid-February. Two Wildcats rank among the nation’s top 45 in singles, beginning with No. 13 Eric Quigley. Playing in the top spot in the Wildcats’ lineup, he is 29-10 overall, including a 10-5 mark in dual matches. Three of his wins have come against opponents ranked in the top 25 at the time of the match. Alex Musialek is ranked No. 44 in the nation behind a 21-9 overall record and plays in the No. 2 spot for Kentucky. The Wildcats also boast the nation’s No. 13 doubles team of Brad Cox and Quigley. The duo is 18-8 on the season.

Vanderbilt brings a 10-7 overall record (2-4 SEC) into this weekend’s matches and will host Florida Friday prior to the Gamecocks’ arrival on Sunday. The Commodores are 8-1 at home this season and are looking to add to the win column in their final two home contests. Freshman Ryan Lipman is ranked 37th in the nation this week behind a 19-10 overall record and a 9-7 slate in the Commodores’ No. 1 singles position. Senior Vijay Paul is one of three Commodores with double-digit singles wins in dual matches this season. He is ranked No. 114 in the nation with a 16-13 overall record and a 10-7 slate in dual-match play, including a 6-1 mark in the No. 3 spot in the Vandy lineup. The Commodores have a pair of doubles team ranked among the nation’s elite as well with Paul and Lipman forming the No. 53 team and Adam Baker and Charlie Jones teaming up as the 36th-ranked duo in the country.

Kentucky leads the all-times series with the Gamecocks 21-10, although the teams have split the last four matchups. South Carolina scored a 5-2 win over then-No. 11 Kentucky last season in Columbia. The Gamecocks hold a 13-8 edge in the all-time series against Vanderbilt, built largely on a six-match win streak from 1996 through 2000. Since then, the Commodores have won six of the last 10 outings. The Gamecocks claimed the most recent battle with a 5-2 win in Columbia last season.