Gamecocks Escape With 4-3 Win at Missouri
<strong><center>Ximena Siles Luna</center></strong>

 
Ximena Siles Luna

March 3, 2013


COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The No. 43 South Carolina women's tennis team escaped with a 4-3 win over No. 71 Missouri on Sunday at Green Tennis Center in Columbia, Mo. The Gamecocks improved to 8-4 overall and 1-1 in the SEC, while the Tigers dipped to 6-3 and 0-2 in the league. It marked Carolina's second 4-3 win over Mizzou this season having also beaten the Tigers in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 26.

Like the first meeting between the two schools earlier in the season, the Gamecocks took the doubles point. Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova won first on court one with a convincing 8-3 decision over Cierra Gaytan-Leach and Elisha Gabb to improve to 8-2 on the spring. Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna provided the clinching victory with an 8-5 triumph over Alex Clark and Madison Rhyner at the No. 3 spot.

With the doubles point decided, play on court two stopped with Mizzou's Maria Christensen and Rachel Stuhlmann leading Katerina Popova and Josefin Andersson 7-6 on court No. 2.

The Gamecocks picked up their second point quickly on court three, as Gabb withdrew from her match with an injury after Lechemia raced out to a 5-0 advantage in the first set. With the victory, the newcomer improved to 4-1 this spring since entering the lineup last week.

A flurry of matches finished a little over an hour later and all within 10 minutes of each other. When the dust settled, the Gamecocks still held a 3-2 advantage over the Tigers. Christensen was the first of the trio to finish with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Kanakova on court four, and Popova countered for Carolina with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Stuhlmann at the No. 2 slot. No. 107-ranked Gaytan-Leach then upended No. 69 Alawi on court one with a 6-4, 6-2 win.

With the 3-2 lead, Andersson and Clark were deadlocked in a 5-all tie in the first set of their No. 5 singles contest. Clark went on to take it 7-5 to gain the momentum heading to the next set. Andersson, though, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second and then pushed ahead 4-1. Rhyner and Siles Luna were tied 2-2 when Andersson grabbed the 4-1 second set lead on Clark.

Clark fought back on Andersson, though, and got the match back to 4-all. Andersson then went ahead 5-4, but Clark regained the upper hand at 6-5. On six, Siles Luna coasted to a 6-2 win in the first set and led 2-0 in the second while Andersson and Clark battled it out in the 12th game of set No. 2 on court five. Andersson won the frame to extend the second set into a tiebreaker.

While Clark went on to win the tiebreaker and the match, the Gamecocks still controlled the team outcome thanks to Siles Luna's commanding 6-2, 4-1 lead on Rhyner when the No. 5 contest ended. Siles Luna wasted no time closing out the match, going on for a 6-2, 6-1 victory to improve to 16-6 this season.

South Carolina has just one SEC match on tap next week in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday against two-time defending national champion and No. 4-ranked Florida at 1 p.m. ET.

SINGLES COMPETITION

  POS SOUTH CAROLINA MISSOURI WINNER SCORE FINISH
1 #69 Jaklin Alawi #107 Cierra Gaytan-Leach Missouri 6-4, 6-2 4
2 #108 Katerina Popova Rachel Stuhlmann South Carolina 6-2, 6-2 3
3 Elixane Lechemia Elisha Gabb South Carolina 5-0 ret. 1
4 Dominika Kanakova Maria Christensen Missouri 6-3, 6-1 2
5 Josefin Andersson Alex Clark Missouri 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) 5
6 Ximena Siles Luna Madison Rhyner South Carolina 6-2, 6-1 6

DOUBLES COMPETITION

  POS SOUTH CAROLINA MISSOURI WINNER SCORE FINISH
1 Alawi/Kanakova Gaytan-Leach/Gabb South Carolina 8-3 1
2 Popova/Andersson Christensen/Stuhlmann Unfinished MU led 7-6  
3 Lechemia/Siles Luna Clark/Rhyner South Carolina 8-5 2