Gamecocks Lose Tough 4-1 Battle to No. 8 Alabama
March 24, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The 49th-ranked South Carolina women's tennis team lost a tough 4-1 battle with No. 8 Alabama on Sunday at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks dropped to 9-8 with the loss and 2-5 in the SEC, while the Crimson Tide improved to 14-2 overall and 6-1 in league play.
The Gamecocks took the doubles point from the Crimson Tide to get the afternoon underway. South Carolina's No. 1 duo of Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova scored a big upset to finish first, beating sixth-ranked Alexa Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane. Kanakova and Alawi pulled ahead 5-3, but Guarachi and Macfarlane countered to win three straight games for a 6-5 lead. The Gamecocks bounced back, though, and went up a break at 7-6 with Kanakova serving. At 30-30, Kanakova delivered two huge first serves that neither Guarachi or Macfarlane could handle on their respective sides, giving the Gamecock duo the 8-6 victory.
Down on court three, it appeared that Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna would cruise to an easy win over Natalia Maynetto and Emily Zabor. The Gamecocks led 7-2 at a changeover, however, the Crimson Tide responded and ripped of four consecutive games to cut the deficit to just one. At 7-6, Lechemia put her powerful left-handed serve to work and Siles Luna chipped in with some strong putaways at the net to propel South Carolina forward with the doubles point in hand.
At No. 2 doubles, Alabama's Antonia Foehse and Maya Jansen held a 7-5 advantage on the Gamecocks' Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova. Play stopped once Lechemia and Siles Luna clinched the doubles point for South Carolina.
Alabama came back to tie the match at 1-all with No. 60 Guarachi defeating No. 102 Popova 6-1, 6-4 on court two. Popova fought hard in the second set, coming back from a 4-2 hole to make the score 4-all, but Guarachi claimed the next two games to take the match. It marked just the third loss of the season for Popova at No. 2 singles.
No. 25 Macfarlane gave the Crimson Tide the lead after picking up a straight set victory on court one over No. 78 Alawi. Macfarlane grabbed the first set by a 6-3 score, but Alawi managed to snag a 3-1 advantage in the second. Macfarlane recovered and got the match back to 4-all and then used a break of serve to push ahead 5-4. She served out the match in the next game to complete her 6-3, 6-4 triumph.
The Tide took a pair of three set matches to finish off the Gamecocks in singles. Lechemia took the first set from No. 73 Jansen 7-5 after trailing 5-2, but Jansen responded by winning the second in 6-3 fashion. In the third, Jansen took control from the beginning and won 6-1 to put Bama on top 3-1. On court four, Foehse came back from a 6-3 loss to Kanakova to win 6-3 and 6-4 in the second and third sets to clinch the match for Alabama.
Both matches for the Nos. 5 and 6 spots were in the first set when play stopped. Siles Luna had just taken a 5-4 lead heading to the changeover against Zabor at No. 5 singles when Foehse clinched the match. Andersson and No. 115 Maynetto were tied 4-all at the sixth singles position.
South Carolina will return to action Friday at No. 51 Arkansas at 3 p.m. The Gamecocks then head to Baton Rouge, La., to face No. 54 LSU at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
|1||#78 Jaklin Alawi||#25 Mary Anne Macfarlane||Alabama||6-3, 6-4||2|
|2||#102 Katerina Popova||#60 Alexa Guarachi||Alabama||6-1, 6-4||1|
|3||Elixane Lechemia||#73 Maya Jansen||Alabama||5-7, 6-3, 6-1||3|
|4||Dominika Kanakova||Antonia Foehse||Alabama||3-6, 6-3, 6-4||4|
|5||Ximena Siles Luna||Emily Zabor||Unfinished||SC led 5-4|
|6||Josefin Andersson||#115 Natalia Maynetto||Unfinished||Tied 4-4|
|1||Alawi/Kanakova||#6 Macfarlane/Guarachi||South Carolina||8-6||1|
|2||Popova/Andersson||Foehse/Jansen||Unfinished||UA led 7-5|
|3||Lechemia/Siles Luna||Zabor/Maynetto||South Carolina||8-6||2|