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May 24, 2012

ATHENS, Ga. — South Carolina women’s tennis senior Anya Morgina lost in three sets in the second round of the NCAA Singles Championship on Thursday to Aeriel Ellis of Texas at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The 3-6, 7-6 (11-9), 6-0 loss put Morgina’s final 2011-12 singles record at 21-10.

Morgina grabbed an early break in the first set and looked to move ahead 4-2 on her serve, but Ellis broke her to get to 3-all. Morgina answered back with another break for a 4-3 advantage. Leading 40-15 in the eighth game, Ellis managed to force deuce, but Morgina held for 5-3 and then broke Ellis for the first set after snagging a 15-40 lead in the ninth game.

It appeared Morgina would run away with the match in the second set. Ellis broke Morgina in the first game, but the Gamecock senior stormed back to win four straight games for a 4-1 upper hand heading to the changeover. The next four games, however, saw Morgina commit numerous unforced errors and Ellis won 16 of 19 points during the span to quickly take a 5-4 lead. Morgina fought back to break Ellis’ serve and then had an easy hold of serve to regain the lead at 6-5. Ellis then held serve to force the tiebreaker.

Both players traded points back and forth in the tiebreaker and it was Morgina who ended up with a 6-5 lead for match point. Ellis countered for 6-all, but Morgina gained another match point up 7-6. Ellis again fought off the point and then grabbed set point for herself at 8-7. Morgina then won the next two rallies to set up her third match point, but Ellis battled back to win three points to force a third set.

In the third, Ellis took control from the beginning and capitalized on Morgina’s miscues. Ellis ended up winning six straight games to finish off the match. Morgina’s best chance at taking a game came when she was serving down 5-0. She had game point at 40-30 and then had the ad after the first deuce, but Ellis won three straight points to claim the victory.

Morgina still figures to move up in the final rankings set to be released in June. Currently ranked 45th, Morgina defeated No. 15 Jacqueline Cako of Arizona State in the first round on Wednesday to mark the highest ranked win of her career. Ellis entered today’s match with a ranking of 40th.