Gamecocks Look Strong in 5-2 Win at Arkansas
<center><strong>Dominika Kanakova</strong></center>
 
Dominika Kanakova

March 29, 2013


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The 31st-ranked South Carolina women's tennis team won its second SEC in three tries Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., downing No. 44 Arkansas by a 5-2 score to improve to 10-8 and 3-5 in the league. The Razorbacks dropped to 10-11 and 3-6 in conference play.

The Gamecocks picked up the doubles point for the 14th time in 18 matches this season, but Arkansas claimed the first contest at No. 3 doubles. Kimberley-Ann Surin and Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez defeated Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna 8-3, handing the Gamecock duo just their second loss in SEC competition.

South Carolina responded quickly with a win at No. 1 doubles from the 50th-ranked duo of Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova. They upended No. 74 Claudine Paulson and Segou Jonker 8-3 to mark their third win in a row against a ranked doubles opponent. The win also marked the 21st of the season for Alawi and Kanakova, making them the winningest Gamecock duo since the 2001-02 season.

Carolina's No. 2 squad of Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova secured the doubles point for the Gamecocks. Trailing 5-4 to Yang Pang and Brittany Huxley, the Gamecocks strung together four of the next five games to snag the 8-6 victory. They improved to 16-8 and 12-3 in duals with the win.

The Gamecocks wasted no time in singles, securing the team win with four consecutive victories. Lechemia won first, bouncing back from her defeat in doubles play to beat Surin 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 3 position. Andersson made the score 3-0, coming out on top of the first set 7-5 after it was tied 5-all and then coasting to a 6-1 triumph in the second versus Hernandez on court six. Kanakova, the current SEC Player of the Week, provided the clinching point on four by ousting Sarah McLean 6-3, 6-3.

No. 98 Popova and No. 97 Paulson split the first two sets of their match-up on court two, but with the match in hand, the two played a super tiebreaker for the third. With the 5-7, 6-2, (10-6) win for Popova, she became the team leader in singles victories this season with a 17-8 record. She leads the squad in dual match wins with an 11-5 mark as well.

The Razorbacks managed to take the final two matches on court. Huxley beat Siles Luna in straight sets 7-5, 6-2 at the No. 5 spot and No. 87 Alawi fell short against No. 47 Pang at the top slot 5-7, 6-4, (10-3).

South Carolina will return to conference play Sunday at No. 54 LSU for a 1 p.m. match-up in Baton Rouge, La.

SINGLES COMPETITION

  POS SOUTH CAROLINA ARKANSAS WINNER SCORE FINISH
1 #87 Jaklin Alawi #47 Yang Pang Arkansas 5-7, 6-4, (10-3) 6
2 #98 Katerina Popova #97 Claudine Paulson South Carolina 5-7, 6-2, (10-6) 4
3 Elixane Lechemia Kimberley-Ann Surin South Carolina 6-1, 6-4 1
4 Dominika Kanakova Sarah McLean South Carolina 6-3, 6-3 3
5 Ximena Siles Luna Brittany Huxley Arkansas 7-5, 6-2 5
6 Josefin Andersson Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez South Carolina 7-5, 6-1 2

DOUBLES COMPETITION

  POS SOUTH CAROLINA ARKANSAS WINNER SCORE FINISH
1 #50 Alawi/Kanakova #74 Paulson/Jonker South Carolina 8-3 2
2 Popova/Andersson Pang/Huxley South Carolina 8-6 3
3 Lechemia/Siles Luna Surin/Hernandez Arkansas 8-3 1