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Feb. 19, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis opens a three-match home stand on Sun., Feb. 20, at 2 p.m. against USC Upstate at the USC Fieldhouse. The Gamecocks continue the home stretch with the SEC opener on Fri., Mar. 4, at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center.

Sophomore Alexander Kostanov and junior Ivan Machado continue to set the pace for the Gamecocks. Both are in double digits in singles victories with Kostanov building his resume mostly during dual-match play. Competing largely in the No. 2 singles spot, Kostanov is 5-2 in dual matches, including a perfect 3-0 record at No. 2. Machado amassed most of his wins in the fall before an injury slowed his progress in the spring. The Gamecocks’ top returner from last season has battled back, though, winning two of his last three matches. His lone loss during that span came last weekend against No. 61 Jaime Pulgar of NC State, who he stretched to 7-5, 7-5. Freshman Chip Cox has matched Kostanov’s dual-match win total with a 5-2 record since joining the team in January.

USC Upstate brings a 2-7 record to Columbia this weekend, and the Spartans have momentum after sweeping a Wednesday doubleheader over Anderson and Presbyterian. Edgar Rodriguez leads the Spartans with a 3-5 spring record and is on a three-match win streak, all playing at the No. 1 singles position. Three other players are on multiple-match win streaks, including Matias Di Pasquale in the No. 4 singles spot who is 3-5 so far this spring. Dr. Oliver Trittenwein is in his first season as head coach at Upstate after serving in the same position at Texas-San Antonio for 12 seasons.

The Gamecocks and Trojans have met just once before on the courts. South Carolina scored a 4-0 victory in Columbia on Feb. 8, 2004.