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March 22, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis hosts archrival Clemson on Wed., March 23, at 2 p.m. at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center. The first 50 University of South Carolina students at the match will enjoy free pizza, and there will be a t-shirt toss to fans in the break between doubles and singles action.

South Carolina and Clemson have met on the tennis courts since at least 1925 as the rivalry celebrated its 100th meeting in 2009, which the Gamecocks won. South Carolina leads the series 60-39-2 and has won the last three matchups. In fact, the Gamecocks have won 13 of the last 17 meetings between the two programs.

South Carolina is looking to snap a recent skid, despite putting up a fight throughout its difficult schedule. In the last three matches, the doubles point has gone down to the wire but just not fallen the Gamecocks’ way. Similarly, in singles action, South Carolina has battled to the bitter end of nearly every individual match. In its last non-conference action against VCU, the Gamecocks forced a tiebreaker to decide the doubles point, and two singles matches included tiebreakers as well.

Two Gamecocks have amassed a team-best eight singles wins in the team’s 16 dual matches this season. Sophomore Alexander Kostanov is 8-7 this spring, recently moving up to the No. 2 spot in the order. Freshman Chip Cox has also shifted his singles slot, playing in the No. 3 matches last week behind his 8-6 record. The duo combines for the team’s best doubles record as well, going 5-2 as the No. 2 tandem.

Clemson brings a 12-4 overall record into Columbia this afternoon, winning six of its last eight outings. The Tigers are coming off a narrow 4-3 loss to No. 25 Miami, which leaves them 0-2 in the young ACC season. Clemson has faced a pair of SEC foes this season, dropping 7-0 decisions at both Georgia and Tennessee and late January. Senior Derek DiFazio leads the Tigers with a 9-4 overall record and a No. 106 national ranking. He is 7-2 in the No. 2 spot in the order, but has also had some success in the No. 1 spot, where he played in the loss to Miami. Redshirt freshman Yannick Maden is the player DiFazio has been alternating with in the top spot. The young German is 7-3 on the season, including a 6-2 mark at the head of the lineup.