March 25, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis starts down the final stretch of SEC action with a trip to No. 23 Ole Miss for a 2 p.m. match on Sat., March 26. The Gamecocks are looking to bounce back from recent tough losses to pick up their second SEC win of the season.
South Carolina is playing its first road match in nearly two weeks after a tough three-match home stand. Junior Ivan Machado found his footing in the No. 1 spot in the singles lineup during the stretch, extending his first two matches to three sets then breaking through with a straight-set win over No. 106 Derek DiFazio of Clemson, his third win over ranked opponent this season. Machado added a doubles win, with Nick Jones, over the Tigers’ top tandem to his perfect day.
Ole Miss brings a 9-4 overall record into the weekend, including a 3-2 mark in SEC action. The Rebels are led by junior Marcel Thiemann, who is ranked No. 55 in the nation after an All-America campaign last season that ended with a spot in the NCAA Singles Championships quarterfinals. He is 10-7 this season, including a 6-5 mark in the top spot in the singles order. Thiemann teams with his brother Chris to form the nation’s No. 8 doubles team. The tandem is 14-5 on the season with a 6-3 record at the top of the order. Senior Tucker Vorster also totes a national ranking in singles, holding the No. 102 spot behind a 14-8 overall record that includes a 7-4 dual-match slate. Vorster has played in the Nos. 2 and 3 positions this spring.
The Rebels hold a 19-7 advantage in the all-time series with the Gamecocks. Ole Miss has won the last eight meetings, including two last season. The Gamecocks’ last victory over the Rebels was a 4-1 decision over then-No. 3 Ole Miss on April 2, 2004, in Columbia.
South Carolina returns to Columbia for a pair of home matches next weekend, hosting No. 28 Vanderbilt and No. 14 Kentucky on Friday and Sunday, respectively.