Women's Tennis Opens Fall Season at Milwaukee Tennis Classic
Sept. 15, 2011
South Carolina takes on Kansas State in singles at noon ET Friday followed by doubles contests with Marquette at 2 p.m. On Saturday, the Gamecocks square off in doubles with Western Michigan at 10 a.m. and then Marquette in singles at 2 p.m. The event concludes with South Carolina facing Kansas State for doubles at 10 a.m. Sunday and then Western Michigan in singles at noon.
The Gamecocks will look to repeat the success they had at the event a year ago when they finished with a combined record of 26-1. Dijana Stojic, now a senior, earned the singles champion trophy at the event last year, while sophomore Katerina Popova took home singles runner-up honors. In doubles, senior Anya Morgina took home doubles champion accolades with the Gamecocks' lone senior a year ago, Miljana Jocic.
South Carolina will send eight members of its roster to the event, including Josefin Andersson, Jaklin Alawi, Dina Guzairova, Dominika Kanakova, Morgina, Adriana Pereira, Popova and Stojic. The Milwaukee Tennis Classis is a unique tournament in that all the matches are played on clay. All dual matches during the spring must be played on hard courts.
"We don't spend a whole lot of time on clay," head coach Arlo Elkins said. "Fortunately, the girls we have, the Europeans, grew up playing on the clay court surface, so they don't need a whole lot of practice to get used to the courts. All the tournaments except for this one are on a hard court surface, so we don't want to spend a lot of time on the clay courts and take away from the rest of the year."
Three members of the Gamecocks' roster begin the fall ranked in singles. Morgina tops the list at No. 30, one short of her career best set last April. Stojic comes in at No. 68 and Popova is listed at No. 96. In doubles, Morgina and Kanakova hold the No. 45 spot.
"It's been a long time since we had (three players ranked in singles to start)," Elkins said. "Even though it doesn't mean anything until the end of the year, it's nice to start out that way and give the girls a little bit of recognition for what they did in the past season."
Last season, Morgina ended up earning first-team All-SEC honors, while Stojic took home a place on the second team for the second year in a row. Popova posted a 6-4 mark playing in SEC matches and gained a national ranking for the first time in her career in April. Morgina finished the 2011 season ranked 45th, Stojic was 102nd, and Morgina and Kanakova were 65th.