Jan. 21, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The 31st-ranked South Carolina women's tennis team won its second match of a doubleheader Monday at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C., with a 4-0 victory over USC Upstate. Earlier in the day, the Gamecocks upended Winthrop 6-1.
The Gamecocks quickly took the doubles point, partly because of some misfortune for USC Upstate. On court two, South Carolina's Katerina Popova and Josefin Andersson led Isabel von Stryk and Talia Rojas 3-1. After five rallies in the fifth game, von Stryk went down with an injury and was unable to continue, giving the Gamecocks the victory. Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova then clinched the doubles point with a convincing 8-0 triumph against Julie Bell and Taylor Cohen at the top position.
At No. 3 doubles, South Carolina's tandem of Alex Martin and Adriana Pereira trailed the Spartans' Constanze Kuerten and Allison Beller 5-2 when play was suspended. The match was tied 2-all before USC Upstate ran off three consecutive games.
South Carolina won three quick matches in singles play to improve to 2-0 on the year. Pereira picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win from Rojas at the No. 4 position after winning a three-set match in her first contest of the day versus Winthrop. Pereira won eight games in a row before surrendering a game to Rojas and moved above .500 for the year with a 4-3 record.
Siles Luna recovered from a disappointing straight set loss to Winthrop by serving up a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Beller on court five to make the score 3-0 for Carolina. The freshman upped her singles mark to 13-3 with the win, the top record for the Gamecocks this season.
Fellow newcomer Martin gave the Gamecocks their fourth and final point of the tilt with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Bell at No. 6 singles. Martin actually dropped the first game of the match before storming back to win nine straight versus Bell. Once Bell cut a 3-0 second set deficit to 3-2, Martin responded by claiming the next three games.
Once the match had been decided, Kanakova and Cohen agreed to finish the first set tiebreaker they had started. Kanakova fell behind 5-2 in the first set to Cohen before mounting a comeback to force the breaker. Kanakova was down 2-1 in the tiebreaker once Martin secured the match for the Gamecocks, but she went on to win six of the next seven rallies to earn a 7-3 victory.
"I think everyone was a little nervous, it being the first match," South Carolina head coach Kevin Epley said. "I think the initial match, we were a little bit frustrated with some of the energy and those sort of things, but they cleaned it up pretty good for the second match. So, I feel like we grew throughout the day. By the end, I feel like we at least have created a base by which we can go into nationals next week."
South Carolina returns to the courts Saturday taking on Missouri in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich.
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