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Jan. 29, 2010

Coach Elkins

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The No. 16 South Carolina women’s tennis team (1-1) dropped a 4-3 decision to No. 19 Michigan (2-0) on Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., in the opening round of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

A sluggish beginning in doubles proved to be the difference in the match for the Gamecocks. The Michigan tandems of Whitney Taney/Rika Tatsuno and Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian won by scores of 8-2 and 8-0 on courts two and three against Josefin Andersson/Madeleine Saari-Byström and Miljana Jocic/Anya Morgina.

South Carolina did manage to claim the top position in doubles after the point had been decided. Dijana Stojic and Ana Marija Zubori trailed Michigan’s Tania Mahtani and Denise Muresan 4-1 before coming back to force a tiebreaker at 7-all. The Gamecock duo won the breaker 7-5.

The Gamecocks stormed back in singles, winning three consecutive matches on courts two, three and four to lead the match 3-1. Dijana Stojic won first at two, beating Tatsuno 7-5, 6-0. Morgina then recorded a 7-5, 6-4 triumph over Mahtani at three and Andersson provided the third point with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Taney at No. 4 singles.

The Wolverines went on to win the match by capturing three matches that all went to three sets. Nguyen defeated Saari-Byström 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 at the No. 5 spot to cut the margin to 3-2 and Sulahian held on to upend Jocic 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 at No. 6 singles.

Muresan and Zubori decided the team outcome at the top of the singles lineup. Zubori claimed the first set 6-3, but Muresan raced out to a 4-0 lead in the second before Zubori came back to win four straight games to knot the second set at 4-all. Muresan went on to take the set in a tiebreaker 7-4. In the third, Zubori held a commanding 5-1 advantage but was unable to win another game, as Muresan pulled out six games in a row to take the set and the match 7-5.

South Carolina will face the loser of No. 18 Arkansas and No. 23 Washington on Saturday at noon.

#19 Michigan (2-0) def. #16 South Carolina (1-1), 4-3

1. #36 Denise Muresan, UM, def. #38 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-5
2. Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Rika Tatsuno, UM, 7-5, 6-0
3. #69 Anya Morgina, USC, def. Tania Mahtani, UM, 7-5, 6-4
4. Josefin Andersson, USC, def. Whitney Taney, UM, 6-3, 6-4
5. Mimi Nguyen, UM, def. Madeleine Saari-Byström, USC, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3
6. Michelle Sulahian, UM, def. Miljana Jocic, USC, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5

Order of Finish: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1

1. Stojic/Zubori, USC, def. Mahtani/Muresan, UM, 8-7(5)
2. Taney/Tatsuno, UM, def. Andersson/Saari-Byström, USC, 8-2
3. Nguyen/Sulahian, UM, def. Jocic/Morgina, USC, 8-0

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1