Feb. 27, 2011
CLEMSON, S.C. -- The 25th-ranked South Carolina women's tennis team suffered a 4-3 loss to No. 12 Clemson on Sunday at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center in Clemson, S.C. The Gamecocks fell to 6-2 on the year while the Tigers improved to 10-3.
The Gamecocks dropped the doubles point, losing two of three matches. The Tigers took court two first with Josipa Bek and Klara Vyskocilova defeating Josefin Andersson and Madeleine Saari-Byström 8-4. South Carolina's Anya Morgina and Katerina Popova countered with an 8-4 victory at No. 3 doubles over Caroline Magnusson and Laurianne Henry.
South Carolina held a 6-3 advantage at No. 1 doubles with Dijana Stojic and Dominika Kanakova. Clemson's duo of Keri Wong and Maria Belaya, though, rallied to win three straight games to get to 6-all with Kanakova serving. The Gamecocks fell behind 0-30 in the 13th game but managed to fight back and take a 7-6 advantage at the changeover. Clemson then held serve and broke Stojic for a chance to serve out the match, which Belaya did to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead heading to singles.
Clemson took the first two matches in singles play to build a 3-0 lead. Magnusson came back to defeat Andersson on court six after trailing 3-0 in the first set. She won seven straight games to lead 6-3, 1-0 and then won another five games in a row after Andersson made it 1-all in the second set.
On court two, Wong won the first set handily over Stojic 6-1 and continued to lead 5-3 in the second. Stojic held serve to make it 5-4 and then got to deuce on Wong's serve. Despite fighting off several match points, Wong managed to hold for the 6-1, 6-4 victory.
South Carolina got on the board thanks to Kanakova's victory on court five. After fighting through the first set to win 6-4 against Belaya, Kanakova raced out to a 4-1 advantage in the second and closed out the set 6-2. Kanakova leads the team in dual match victories this season with a 7-1 record.
Popova then trimmed the Clemson lead to 3-2 after winning in straight sets over Vyskocilova at the No. 4 slot. It looked as though Popova might blank Vyskocilova in the second set after quickly earning a 4-0 lead, but Vyskocilova rebounded to make it 4-all before Popova closed out the match to improve to 4-2 this spring.
Saari-Byström then knotted the match at 3-all after upending Nelly Ciolkowski at No. 3 singles. Saari-Byström got down 5-3 in the first set, however, she managed to win four games in a row to take the first set 7-5. In the second, Saari-Byström dictated play the entire set, going on to win 6-3.
The top singles position decided the team outcome with Morgina playing Bek. Morgina claimed the first set 6-3 but faltered in the second to 6-1. In the third, Bek held a 4-2 advantage after Saari-Byström won her match with Morgina serving. Morgina had trailed 4-1 before breaking Bek and was down 15-40 on her serve, but she climbed back in the game and eventually made it 4-3 at the changeover. Bek held serve in the next game and then broke Morgina after going ahead 15-40 in the ninth game to lift the Tigers to a 4-3 victory.
South Carolina will open SEC play in Fayetteville, Ark., when it faces No. 16 Arkansas on March 4. The Gamecocks then play LSU on March 6 in Baton Rouge, La.
Order of Finish: 6, 2, 5, 4, 3, 1
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
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