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Feb. 21, 2010

Coach Elkins

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 24th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team (2-3) lost a 4-3 decision to in-state rival and 13th-ranked Clemson (10-2) on Sunday at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C.

South Carolina faltered in the doubles point, losing all three positions to Clemson. Josefin Andersson and Madeleine Saari-Byström hung tough with Laurianne Henry and Keri Wong at No. 2 doubles with the score tied 4-all after eight games. The next four games, however, went to the Tigers to give them an 8-4 win.

On court three, the Gamecocks’ Miljana Jocic and Anya Morgina fell behind 5-1 to Estefania Balda and Nelly Ciolkowski before winning three consecutive games to crawl within a game of tying the match. Balda and Ciolkowski, though, claimed the next three games to win 8-4 and give Clemson the 1-0 lead.

Ana Marija Zubori and Dijana Stojic trailed 5-1 to No. 19-ranked Josipa Bek and Ina Hadziselimovic at the top slot but managed to cut the gap to 6-4 after 10 games. Clemson, however, went on to win the contest 8-4 to complete the sweep.

Clemson pushed ahead 2-0 after an unfortunate injury to Andersson on court four versus Ciolkowski. Andersson lost the first set 6-3 and with the score 15-all in the first game of the second set, Andersson was wrong-footed on a shot by Ciolkowski and injured her right leg while trying to get to the ball.

Hadziselimovic gave the Tigers a 3-0 advantage after defeating Morgina 7-5, 6-0 at No. 3 singles. Morgina held a 5-3 lead in the first set before Hadziselimovic ran off 10 straight games for the victory.

Jocic got South Carolina on the board with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph at six singles over Balda. Saari-Byström pulled the Gamecocks to within 3-2 after dispatching Henry 6-3, 6-4 at the fifth singles position.

The deciding match came at the No. 1 position. Zubori held a 6-5 lead over Bek in the first set before going to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Zubori fought off one set point at 6-5 after leading 5-3, but Bek won the next two rallies to take the set. Bek raced out to a 4-1 upper hand in the second set before eventually winning 6-3 to earn the team win.

The final match at No. 2 singles saw Stojic win the first set 7-6(3) against Wong, but Wong dominated the second 6-1. In the third, Wong charged ahead 3-1, but Stojic fought back to lead 4-3. Wong won the next game to make it 4-all and Stojic took the next after several deuces. In the 10th game, Stojic lost just one point to come away with the three-set triumph. At No. 65, Wong is the highest ranked player Stojic has beaten in her career.

The Gamecocks are back in action Wednesday hosting College of Charleston at 2 p.m. at Maxcy Gregg.

#13 Clemson (10-2) def. #24 South Carolina (2-3), 4-3

1. #18 Josipa Bek, CU, def. #66 Ana Marija Zubori, USC, 7-6(6), 6-3
2. Dijana Stojic, USC, def. #65 Keri Wong, CU, 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-4
3. Ina Hadziselimovic, CU, def. #82 Anya Morgina, USC, 7-5, 6-0
4. #90 Nelly Ciolkowski, CU, def. Josefin Andersson, USC, 6-3 retired (injury)
5. Madeleine Saari-Byström, USC, def. Laurianne Henry, CU, 6-3, 6-4
6. Miljana Jocic, USC, def. Estefania Balda, CU, 6-4, 6-2

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

1. #19 Bek/Hadziselimovic, CU, def. Stojic/Zubori, USC, 8-4
2. Henry/Wong, CU, def. Andersson/Saari-Bystöm, USC, 8-4
3. Balda/Ciolkowski, CU, def. Jocic/Morgina, USC, 8-4

Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1