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May 25, 2011

STANFORD, Calif. — South Carolina junior women’s tennis player Anya Morgina lost in three sets to Washington’s Denise Dy 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championship on Wednesday at the Taube Tennis Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

After suffering a 6-0 loss in the first set to the fourth-ranked Dy, No. 44 Morgina recovered to win the second. After losing the opening game, Morgina grabbed the second game by breaking Dy’s serve at 30-40 when Dy hit a backhand that sailed long. Morgina then held in the next game for a 2-1 lead and had two break points in game four, but Dy fought back to win the game on the fourth deuce. After holding at love in the next game, Dy had a double fault at 30-40 to put Morgina ahead 4-2. Dy broke back and then held at love to make the score 4-all in the second set.

Just as Morgina was getting ready to serve the ninth game, play was suspended because of rain. The two returned to the match for just a short time but long enough for Morgina to hold serve for a 5-4 advantage heading to a second stoppage in play. In the 10th game, Morgina had a set point at 30-40, but Dy fought it off and then another to make it deuce for a second time. Morgina took the ad and then capitalized by rifling a backhand winner down the line to force a third set.

After dropping the first game of the third set, Morgina rallied back to win the next two for a 2-1 lead. She had four chances on Dy’s serve in the next game to make it a 3-1 advantage, but Dy held her off for 2-all. Dy then cruised through the next four games to win the match 6-2.

Morgina ends the season with a 24-15 record in singles play. In addition to being named the 2011 ITA Carolina Region Player to Watch, she earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team, becoming just the fourth Gamecock in school history to achieve first-team status. The Russian played the No. 1 singles position all season for Carolina and recorded a 14-11 mark there. In SEC regular-season play, Morgina tied a school record by winning eight matches on court one and finished 8-3. She posted the most wins at No. 1 singles in league play of any player in the conference.