South Carolina Holds on for 4-2 Win at VCU
<strong><center>Ximena Siles Luna</center></strong>
 
Ximena Siles Luna

Feb. 16, 2013


RICHMOND, Va. -- The No. 30 South Carolina women's tennis team held on for a 4-2 victory at No. 49 VCU on Saturday at Thalhimer Tennis Center in Richmond, Va., to improve to 4-2 on the year while the Rams fell to 7-3 with the loss.

The Gamecocks continued their strong doubles play this season by winning the top two spots for a 1-0 lead heading to singles play. Carolina's 57th-ranked duo of Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova improved to 5-1 this spring with an 8-4 triumph over Josefin Hjertquist and Cindy Chala on court one. At the second spot, Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova upped their dual record to 5-1 as well with an 8-4 win against Daria Yakauleva and Olga Barscheuskaya.

VCU did manage to grab match in the doubles by winning the third court. Salome Kvitashvili and Olga Terteac topped Adriana Pereira and Ximena Siles Luna by an 8-5 score at the position. Siles Luna, though, would respond in singles with the biggest victory of her young career as a Gamecock.

With the Gamecocks ahead 3-2 and only two matches left in singles, the Rams were poised to take the No. 6 singles match, meaning it would all come down to the No. 4 singles contest between Siles Luna and Terteac. Terteac claimed the first set 6-4, but Siles Luna fought back to take the second in a tiebreaker 7-2. The two traded games back and forth in the third and trailing 4-3, Siles Luna strung together three games in a row to give the Gamecocks' their fourth straight victory against the Rams in a hotly contested series the past five years.

Saturday marked the fourth time the two schools have played since 2008. The prior three meetings all ended in 4-3 wins for the Gamecocks. South Carolina and VCU last played in Columbia, S.C., in 2011 in a match where South Carolina lost the doubles point but broke a 3-all tie thanks to a three set win from Dijana Stojic at No. 2 singles.

Popova and Kanakova gave South Carolina its second and third points of the match to set up the exciting finish with Siles Luna. No. 114 Popova cruised to a 6-0, 6-4 win over Kvitashvili at No. 2 singles to improve to 4-1 this spring. Kanakova snapped a three-match losing skid at No. 3 singles by taking care of Hjertquist 6-4, 6-3.

VCU scored its first point of the match at the top of the lineup with Chala downing No. 59 Alawi 6-3, 6-4. Barscheuskaya cut the Gamecocks' 3-1 lead to just one point when she defeated Pereira 7-5, 6-1. At No. 6 singles, Yukako Noi led Andersson 7-6 (7-2), 5-1 when Siles Luna beat Terteac to clinch the match and play was subsequently stopped.

South Carolina continues its stay in the Commonwealth when it visits Williamsburg, Va., on Sunday to face No. 47 William & Mary at 1 p.m.

Singles
1. Cindy Chala, VCU, def. #59 Jaklin Alawi, USC, 6-3, 6-4
2. #114 Katerina Popova, USC, def. Salome Kvitashvili, 6-0, 6-4
3. Dominika Kanakova, USC, def. Josefin Hjertquist, VCU, 6-4, 6-3
4. Ximena Siles Luna, USC, def. Olga Terteac, VCU, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
5. Olga Barscheuskaya, VCU, def. Adriana Pereira, USC, 7-5, 6-1
6. Josefin Andersson, USC, vs. Yukako Noi, VCU, 6-7 (2-7), 1-5 susp.

Doubles
1. #57 Alawi/Kanakova, USC, def. Hjertquist/Chala, VCU, 8-4
2. Popova/Andersson, USC, def. Daria Yakauleva/Barscheuskaya, VCU, 8-4
3. Kvitashvili/Terteac, VCU, def. Pereira/Siles Luna, USC, 8-5