NCAA Womens Tennis

Gamecocks Drop Heartbreaker to No. 10 Georgia – University of South Carolina Athletics

Gamecocks Drop Heartbreaker to No. 10 Georgia – University of South Carolina Athletics

Columbia, S.C. – ­No. 22 South Carolina women’s tennis dropped a heartbreaker to No. 10 Georgia at home on Sunday. The Gamecocks claimed the doubles point and three first sets but weren’t able to complete the job in the 2-4 loss.

In doubles play, the Bulldogs earned the first punch with a resounding 6-0 shutout from the No. 2 position but South Carolina’s No. 3 pair of Misa Malkin and Olympe Lancelot evened things up with a 7-5 win.

The final match was between No. 8 Aysegul Mert and Dasha Vidmanova against No. 41 Ayana Akli and Sarah Hamner at the top of the lineup. The Georgia pair appeared to have the match in the bag with a 5-3 lead but the Gamecocks rallied to tie things up at 5-5. From there the Bulldogs again had things in their favor after breaking to go up 6-5, but the Gamecock pair broke back to push things to a tiebreaker at 6-6.

In the breaker, the All-American duo of Akli and Hamner showed their strength, besting the No. 8-ranked team 7-3 to claim the doubles point.

In singles play, the Gamecocks initially appeared to have the momentum on their side after taking first sets on Courts 1, 2, and 5 but the Bulldogs had other plans in mind.

They were quick to even things up at 1-1 with a straight set win at the No. 6 position but No. 10 Hamner got the lead back with a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 25 Alexandra Vecic.

After Hamners win, the Bulldogs rallied to claim a pair of win on Courts 3 and 4 to lead 3-2 with the remaining two matches going to third sets.

At the No. 5 position, Elise Mills claimed her first set in a tiebreaker, but dropped the second 3-6. At the No. 1 position, Akli claimed her first set 6-1, but dropped her second in a tiebreaker.

Despite trailing, 2-3, things still appeared in the home team’s favor with both Akli and Mills earning early breakes to lead things 2-0 on both courts. Akli continued her momentum to jump out to a 5-0 lead, but Mills couldn’t reciprocate, giving up her next four games to trail 2-4.

Mills finally broke back for 3-4 but her opponent Guillermina Grant broke once again to lead 5-3 and served out the match 6-3. Akli led 5-1 in her final set when play was suspended but was unable to record the match as a win thanks to a bit of strategic stalling from the No. 29 Vidmanova.

The women’s tennis team will continue SEC action at home this week, hosting Alabama and Arkansas on Friday and Sunday. Friday’s match will begin at 3:00 p.m. with Sunday’s at noon.

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