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March 3, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis kicks off its SEC season this weekend, beginning on Fri., March 4, against No. 69 Arkansas, at 2 p.m. at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center. The Gamecocks will then host No. 53 LSU on Sun., March 6, at 1 p.m.

South Carolina enters SEC play with a 4-5 record and is led by Alexander Kostanov and Chip Cox, who are a combined 11-5 in singles play in dual matches. Cox is currently riding a three-match win streak at No. 3 and will look to extend that this weekend. The Gamecocks also look forward to the return of freshman Nick Jones who did not play last week due to illness. In doubles, the Gamecocks will look to the tandem of seniors Chris Sheehan and Johannes Pulsfort to continue on a two-match streak that included the point-clinching win in last week’s doubles play against USC Upstate. A key to victory for the Gamecocks this weekend will be the doubles point as they are undefeated in 2011 when winning the doubles point to start the match.

Arkansas brings a 3-3 record into the opening weekend of SEC play. The Razorbacks, who are ranked No. 69 in the latest ITA poll, are led by senior Matthew Hogan, who sports a 10-7 record playing in the No. 2 slot. Arkansas also features a strong doubles tandem of Michael Ward and Nikolas Zogaj. The duo enters the weekend with a 10-1 record and a No. 66 national ranking.

South Carolina holds a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series with the Razorbacks. The Gamecocks’ last win in the series came March 30, 2008, with a 4-3 win in Fayetteville.

No. 53 LSU enters the weekend with a 4-4 record after closing out their pre-conference slate with a 6-1 loss at No. 14 Texas A&M. The Tigers are led by sophomore Olivier Borsos, who has posted a 15-9 record this season. Sophomore Roger Anderson (8-3) enters this weekend’s contests on a four-match winning streak. The Tigers also feature the country’s No. 17 doubles duo of Sebastian Carlsson and Neal Skupski, who is also ranked No. 69 in singles. The tandem upset the No. 1-ranked doubles team in the country in LSU’s last match against Texas A&M.

The Gamecocks have not fared as well against LSU, holding a 7-24 all-time record against the Tigers. South Carolina’s last victory in the series was a 4-3 decision March 4, 2005, in Columbia.