No. 20 Auburn men's tennis heads to SEC tournament

The No. 20 Auburn men's tennis team will head to Gainesville, Fla., to compete in the Southeastern Conference Tournament as the No. 6 seed after finishing second in the SEC West. The Tigers will square off against No. 11 seed South Carolina on Thursday at 8 a.m. CT.

"Gainesville is going to have tough conditions," head coach Eric Shore said. "We got the best situation in terms of the draw. We get to play at 8 a.m., which is the perfect time to play. Hopefully we take advantage of it, and we come with our best stuff, because we are going to need a good tournament if we want to give ourselves the opportunity to host NCAAs."
Thursday's matchup will be the 28th meeting between the Tigers and Gamecocks, with the Tigers holding a 17-10 advantage. The Tigers hold a 2-1 all-time record against the Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament. In 1997, the ninth-seeded Tigers defeated the Gamecocks, 4-0, in the first round. In the first round of the 2000 Tournament, Auburn bested South Carolina, 4-1. In 2001, the 11th seeded Gamecocks upset Auburn, 4-1, in the first round.
Last time out, the Tigers defeated in-state rival Alabama, 4-0, to finish out the regular season 14-8 (6-5 SEC). Auburn has won six out of its last eight matches heading into Thursday matchup, and with a win on Thursday, Auburn senior Tim Puetz would earn his 91st victory of his career, tying him with Derek Tarr (1978-81) for third all-time in history.
South Carolina enters the match with a 6-17 record, 1-10 in SEC play. USC lost to No. 16 Florida, 4-0, last Saturday in its final regular season matchup. The Gamecocks are led by Alexander Kostanov, who currently has a 15-19 record.
Auburn won the last meeting between the two teams, 6-1, on March 11. In doubles Auburn's Tim Hewitt and Rafael Rondino defeated Johannes Pulsfort and Chris Sheehan, 8-5. In the No. 2 position, No. 46 Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies toppled South Carolina's Chip Cox and Alexander Kostanov, 9-7, to win the doubles point. No. 117 Mies won by retirement to start singles off against South Carolina's Pulsfort, 6-0, 5-0. On court three, No. 104 Stamchev gave Auburn a 3-0 lead after he cruised past Jones, 6-3, 6-0. Clinching the match for Auburn was junior Tim Hewitt. The London, England native topped South Carolina's Kostanov, 7-6 (3), 6-0.
The winner of the match will face No. 3 seed Kentucky on Friday at 8 a.m. CT. Fans can follow all the action with live stats at the SEC Tournament Web site at www.GatorZone.com.
INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn University Athletics