Carolina and Clemson Men's Tennis Clash for 100th Time Wednesday
March 24, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - No. 16 South Carolina men's tennis closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule with its centennial matchup against archrival Clemson at 2 p.m. on Wed., Mar. 25, at Sam Daniel Tennis Center. The first 50 fans will get a free Beat Clemson t-shirt, and there will be free pizza and soda for South Carolina students (Student ID required) at the match as well. The Gamecocks are looking for their second-straight win over the Tigers after scoring a 6-1 win last season and their second-straight win over an ACC team after posting a 4-3 win over then-No. 18 Wake Forest last week.
While No. 50 Diego Cubas and No. 115 Pedro Campos lead the Gamecocks with 19 singles victories each this season, it is sophomore Johannes Pulsfort who has most stamped his mark on Carolina's 13-3 record. Playing mainly in the No. 5 spot in the singles lineup, the Lueneberg, Germany, native has clinched five of the Gamecocks' 13 wins this season, beginning with the first dual match of the season and most recently with a three-set comeback win at No. 6 singles against Wake Forest. He is 11-4 in dual-match play after going 5-4 in the fall. The Gamecocks have won the doubles point in all 13 of their team victories this season, with Cubas and freshman Ivan Machado leading the way in the No. 1 position. The duo, ranked 29th in the country last week, rallied late to knock off the nation's No. 1 team from Wake Forest last week to give the Gamecocks the early 1-0 lead in the match. Cubas and Machado have a 4-2 record against top-40 opponents and are 11-5 overall this season.
Clemson arrives in Columbia with an 8-8 record and is looking for its first win over a nationally-ranked team. Senior Ike Belk leads the Tigers with a 13-6 overall record and an 8-3 mark playing in the No. 6 spot in dual matches. Clemson has used three different players in the No. 1 singles position, led by junior Carlos Alvarez, who is 5-5 at the position. The Tigers have struggled in doubles play, combining for just a 21-27 doubles record in dual matches this spring. Clemson's No. 1 team of Alvarez and junior Roz Bizjak is just 1-5 on the season and is winless in four ACC matches. Only the current No. 3 tandem of Belk and Kevin Fleck have a winning dual-match record for the Tigers at 4-2 in dual matches.
South Carolina leads the all-time series against the Tigers 58-39-2 and holds a 32-16-2 edge in matches played in Columbia, including wins in five of the last eight meetings on the Gamecocks' home courts. Overall, however, the Tigers have won four of the last six meetings, beginning with the 2004 match, which snapped Carolina's string of nine straight wins dating back to the 1996 season.