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Feb. 28, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 43 South Carolina kicks off an elite weekend of action at Carolina Tennis Center, opening SEC play against No. 11 Texas A&M under the lights on Fri., March 1, at 5 p.m. then hosting in-state rival No. 18 Clemson on Sun., March 3, at 1 p.m. The matches will extend the Gamecocks’ streak of hosting top-40 opponents to five straight and mark the second and third top-20 foes this season. Parking in the Athletics Village Garage on Heyward Street and admission to the tennis match are free.

South Carolina (9-4) split a pair of road matches last weekend, defeating William and Mary 7-0 and falling to then-No. 34 VCU 5-2. Chip Cox and Thiago Pinheiro picked up the points in singles play against the Rams. Pinheiro has won six straight matches at No. 4 singles, improving to 8-1 overall. Tsvetan Mihov is 8-3 at No. 1 singles and is currently ranked No. 105. Senior Harry Menzies has also tallied eight wins this season. Mihov and Cox are now nationally ranked in doubles at No. 33 and hold a 6-3 record at the No. 1 spot.

Texas A&M is 8-4 on the season with all four losses coming to teams ranked in the top 15. The Aggies have defeated three ranked teams thus far, including wins over then-No. 10 Stanford and then-No. 4 Ohio State. Seven players return this season, including the All-Big 12 duo of Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore. The pair currently holds an 8-1 record at No. 1 doubles and is ranked No. 17. Withrow is also No. 115 in singles. Newcomers this season, Shane Visant and Harrison Adams hold a 6-2 record and boast a No. 21 doubles national ranking. Visant is also ranked No. 90 in singles. Last season the Aggies and the Gamecocks met in the first round of the NCAA Tournament where Texas A&M took home a 4-0 victory.

Clemson currently holds an 8-1 record with its only loss coming to then-No. 6 Georgia. With the exception of Georgia, the Tigers have upset every team they have played this season including then-No. 21 Auburn last week. Six players return to the team this season, including All-ACC selection Yannick Maden, who currently holds a 7-1 record at No. 1 singles and is ranked No. 57. The senior also pairs with his brother, Dominique, at No. 1 doubles, and the duo are currently undefeated (5-0) and boast a No. 20 national ranking. The Gamecocks have won four of the last five matches against the Tigers, including a hard fought 4-3 victory last season in Clemson.

The Gamecocks will be back in action Fri., Mar. 8, when they host No. 35 Florida at 5 p.m.