April 3, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 38 South Carolina women's tennis team rebounded from its 4-3 loss at No. 20 Vanderbilt on Friday with a 6-1 triumph over Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday. The Gamecocks improved to 12-6 overall with the win and 4-4 in the SEC, while the Wildcats dipped to 4-16 and 2-6 in league play.
"What makes coaches really proud is when people run and try 100 percent," associate head coach Katarina Petrovic said. "In order to win a college tennis match, we all have to be on the same page. That means we all have to try 100 percent. It's all about attitude. If we have a positive attitude we can beat anybody out here."
The Gamecocks earned a sweep in doubles to get the afternoon underway. South Carolina substituted Adriana Pereira for Miljana Jocic at the No. 2 spot to play with Anya Morgina and it proved to be an effective combination. Pereira and Morgina won the first six games against Misha Testerman and Marni Venter before closing out the contest with an 8-1 victory.
It appeared Dominika Kanakova and Dijana Stojic would have to win in order for the Gamecocks to snag the doubles point with Katerina Popova and Madeleine Saari-Byström trailing 6-2 on court three against Jessica Stiles and CeCe Witten. Popova and Saari-Byström, though, regrouped and claimed six consecutive games to earn an 8-6 win and clinch the point for South Carolina.
At one, several games went to deuce in the early portion of the match, but Kanakova and Stojic grabbed a 4-1 lead after five games versus Megan Broderick and Khristina Blajkevitch. After losing a game to make the score 6-3, Kanakova and Stojic got a break of serve and Stojic held in the next game for an 8-6 triumph.
"I think it's all about attitude and how pumped up we are," Morgina said. "I think today, it went really well for us. We were really pumped up. All the girls on all three courts in doubles played really well."
In singles, Morgina won first for the Gamecocks with another straight-set victory at the top position to extend her winning streak to eight matches. Morgina topped Broderick 6-4, 6-3 to improve to 22-9 on the season and 12-6 at No. 1 singles. Morgina has lost just one set during her eight-match winning streak. The junior from Russia also improved to 7-1 in the SEC on court one, joining Danielle Wiggins, Heather Greene and Helen Crook as the only players in school history to win at least seven matches at No. 1 singles in regular-season SEC play. Wiggins holds the record with eight in 2004.
Stojic provided the next point for Carolina with a 6-0, 6-4 victory against Stiles at No. 2 singles. For Stojic, it marked her eighth win in her last nine matches and upped her overall record to 19-7 and 13-4 at the No. 2 position. Stojic also holds a 6-1 record in SEC matches.
Kanakova gave the Gamecocks the clinching point on court five with her 20th win of the season. Like Stojic, Kanakova won her first set 6-0 and after falling behind 3-2 in the second, Kanakova recovered to win four consecutive games for a 6-3 victory. Kanakova is 20-6 overall and tied with Stojic for the most dual match wins on the team with a 13-3 mark.
Less than a minute after Kanakova's win, the Wildcats picked up their lone win of the afternoon with Blajkevitch recording a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Saari-Byström at No. 4 singles.
The final two matches on court belonged to Carolina. At three, Popova grinded out a 6-3, 6-4 victory over McGraw to improve to 16-8 and 9-6 in dual matches. Pereira recovered from a 6-2 loss in the first set versus Witten on court six to win 6-3 in the second. Falling behind 4-2 in the third, Pereira battled her way through to win four straight games for a 6-4 win. Pereira improved to 4-2 this spring and 4-1 in the SEC at No. 6 singles with the victory.
South Carolina will host its final two home contests of the season April 8 and 10 when No. 16 Tennessee and No. 7 Georgia travel to Columbia, S.C.
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