Challenging Field Awaits Gamecocks in Greenville
Sept. 23, 2010
By Matt Freed
Including host Furman, the tournament will feature eight teams in a flighted competition (i.e. no team winner, just individual flight champions for singles and doubles). Doubles play will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, followed by singles action at 1 p.m. Play will continue on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. each day.
Seven of the eight teams competing in the tournament were ranked in the top 30 in the final 2010 ITA collegiate tennis rankings: North Carolina (3rd), Northwestern (7th), Clemson (11th), Tennessee (13th), Florida State (14th), South Carolina (19th), and Vanderbilt (27th). The eight-team field also includes 12 singles players and five doubles teams ranked in the preseason ITA rankings.
Six of South Carolina's eight players will play in the tournament including Miljana Jocic, Anya Morgina, Dijana Stojic, Madeleine Saari-Byström, Katerina Popova and Dominika Kanakova. The same six represented the Gamecocks last week at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic and posted a combined 26-1 record between singles and doubles to dominate the event.
The MTC marked the first event of the fall for Stojic and Popova, who both posted 3-0 records playing singles and doubles. Stojic is the Gamecocks' highest ranked player this fall in singles at No. 58 and took home singles champion honors in Milwaukee. Popova, a freshman, earned the singles runner-up title at last week's tournament.
Kanakova and Morgina kept their unbeaten individual doubles records in tact last week. The two are 6-0 this fall and have earned four of those wins with each other. Kanakova played two matches in Milwaukee with Stojic, while Morgina teamed with Jocic for a pair of wins. Morgina, who is ranked 70th, is 5-1 in singles play, while Kanakova is 4-2.
Saari-Byström and Jocic are both enjoying highly productive falls as well. Saari-Byström is 5-1 in both singles and doubles play, while Jocic is 4-1 in singles and 5-1 for doubles. The two have a 3-1 record together playing doubles. Jocic had a strong showing in last year's Furman Fall Classic when she managed to reach the finals of her respective singles flight.
Following the Furman tournament, South Carolina will take a couple weeks off from competition before returning to the courts for the Wildcat Invitational hosted by Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., over Oct. 8-10.