Columbia, S.C. – No. 38 South Carolina women’s tennis defeated No. 34 LSU 4-3 on Friday to open conference play. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and were able to secure three singles wins for the narrow victory.
South Carolina was dominant in doubles against the Tigers. The first win came from Allie Gretkowski and Ana Cruz at the No. 3 position. The duo got an early break to go up 3-0 to start the match. LSU’s pair took their next service game and a break, but those were the only games that South Carolina allowed them, taking the next two games to win the match 6-2.
The doubles point was clinched from the top spot in the lineup where Ayana Akli and Sarah Hamner teamed up to take on No. 17 Nikita Vishwase and Anastasiya Komar of LSU. The Gamecock pair was dominant over their ranked opponents, taking them down 6-2. This marks the Gamecock pair’s third consecutive win from the No. 1 doubles position. They are 10-5 overall and 3-0 in dual play.
The first singles win of the day came from sophomore Misa Malkin on Court 6. The Tucson, Ariz., native got an early break in the first set and went up 5-2, but her opponent Mia Rabinowitz tried to make a comeback, taking the next two games. Malkin refused to give in and closed out the set 6-4. In the second set, Rabinowitz took her first service game, but that was all Malkin would allow, closing out the second set in dominating fashion, 6-1.
The Tigers were the next to get a singles point with No. 44 Komar defeating No. 12 Hamner 6-4, 6-3 from Court 2.
No. 10 Akli was the next player to clear her court with a ranked win over No. 11 Kylie Collins. The senior earned an early break in the first set and was able to finalize the set with another break, winning it 6-2. In the second set, Akli again got an early break to go up 3-0, but gave the break back for Collins to tie it at 3-3. The Gamecock was determined to get the win, taking the next two games and finally closing out the set 6-4.
The win marks Akli’s tenth consecutive victory and she is now a perfect 7-0 from the No. 1 position. Her win over the nation’s eleventh-ranked player is her highest ranked win of the season and makes her 13-6 overall against ranked opponents.
With Akli’s win, South Carolina took the lead 3-1, but LSU was quick to tie the match up at three a piece, taking wins on Courts 3 and 4.
All eyes turned to Court 5 for the match decision where senior Ana Cruz was taking on LSU’s Vishwase. After falling 0-3 in the first…
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