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Feb. 24, 2011

South Carolina vs. Winthrop
February 24, 2011 • Columbia, S.C.
Team S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 D1 D2 D3 Total
Winthrop L L L W L L L L L 1
South Carolina W W W L W W W W W 6
Coach Elkins
Dominika Kanakova Anya Morgina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The 25th-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team registered a 6-1 victory over No. 66 Winthrop on Thursday at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C., to improve to 6-1 this season. Winthrop dropped to 7-7 with the loss.

The Gamecocks got off to a slow start in doubles. Across all three courts, South Carolina held a 3-2 lead on all the courts after five games. At two, Josefin Andersson and Madeleine Saari-Byström quickly took control of their match against Sandra Herrera and Giovanna Portioli, winning the next five games for an 8-2 victory. Dijana Stojic and Dominika Kanakova then cruised to an 8-3 win over Yasmine Alkema and Lisa Wilkinson to clinch the point for Carolina.

The remaining match on three saw Anya Morgina and Katerina Popova leading 7-4 when the No. 1 team finished. Winthrop’s Sara Abutovic and Julia Breuss, however, countered to win the next two games to cut the deficit to one. Morgina and Popova then dominated the final game to complete the sweep with an 8-6 triumph.

In singles, South Carolina raced ahead in the first sets in five of six matches. Morgina finished first at the top position, beating Alkema in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Morgina fell behind 2-0 early in the second set before winning five straight games. It marked the junior’s third consecutive win and upped her overall record to 13-7 and 3-4 in dual matches at one singles.

Andersson put the Gamecocks ahead 3-0 after winning 6-4, 6-1 at the No. 6 singles spot. It was Andersson’s fifth appearance of the spring and improved her record to 4-1 in dual contests. The sophomore from Sweden missed most of last spring and the entire fall after rupturing her Achilles versus Clemson last February.

South Carolina had to wait patiently, though, for its next point in order to clinch the match. Both Stojic and Saari-Byström had 4-3 leads in the second set, although, both had to fight back from 3-1 down. It looked as though Saari-Byström would get the chance when she moved to a 5-3 lead. Saari-Byström’s opponent on court three, Portioli, fought back to take a 6-5 lead, so Stojic rose up to the occasion for the second match in a row and provided a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Herrera on court two to give Carolina the win.

Kanakova finished her match soon afterward at the No. 5 singles spot, beating Abutovic 6-2, 7-5. Kanakova fell behind 5-4 in the second set but countered with some aggressive returns of serve and outstanding net play to snag the win. Kanakova leads the team in dual match victories with a 6-1 record and is 13-4 overall.

Saari-Byström managed to get her match to a tiebreaker for the second set, which she controlled from the start in winning 7-1. With the win, the sophomore from Sweden moved her record on the season to 13-3 and 5-2 at No. 3 singles.

The Eagles grabbed the final match on court between Popova and Wilkinson. Wilkinson took the first set 6-4, but fell behind 5-1 in the second. After Popova held on for a 6-4 win in the second, the two played a super tiebreaker for the third. Popova held a 7-5 lead after the second changeover, but Wilkinson won the next three rallies for an 8-7 lead. Popova made the score 8-all, but Wilkinson was able to win the next two points to earn the win.

South Carolina’s next opponent is rival and 12th-ranked Clemson on Sunday at noon in Clemson, S.C.

1. #56 Anya Morgina, USC, def. Yasmine Alkema, WU, 6-1, 6-3
2. #121 Dijana Stojic, USC, def. Sandra Herrera, WU, 6-4, 7-5
3. Madeleine Saari-Byström, USC, def. Giovanna Portioli, WU, 6-2, 7-6 (7-1)
4. Lisa Wilkinson, WU, def. Katerina Popova, USC, 6-4, 4-6, (10-8)
5. Dominika Kanakova, USC, def. Sara Abutovic, WU, 6-2, 7-5
6. Josefin Andersson, USC, def. Julia Breuss, WU, 6-4, 6-1

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

1. #38 Kanakova/Stojic, USC, def. Alkema/Wilkinson, WU, 8-3
2. Andersson/Saari-Bystrom, USC, def. Herrera/Portioli, WU, 8-2
3. Morgina/Popova, USC, def. Abutovic/Breuss, WU, 8-6

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3