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Feb. 16, 2014

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Meghan Blevins

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 32 South Carolina women’s tennis team suffered a 5-2 loss to No. 12 Clemson on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Tennis Center in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks dropped to 6-2 on the year with the loss, while the Tigers improved to 7-2.

Clemson came away with the doubles point after taking courts one and three. The Tigers’ first win came at three with Yuilynn Miao and Jessy Rompies defeating Ximena Siles Luna and Dominika Kanakova 8-3. Miao and Rompies jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Siles Luna and Kanakova managed to win the next two games to cut the deficit to just one. The Tigers then closed out the match winning five of the next six games for the win.

At No. 1 doubles, the Tigers’ 55th-ranked duo of Beatrice Gumulya and Yana Koroleva built a 7-4 lead on Meghan Blevins and Elixane Lechemia and had double match point with Blevins serving 15-40. The Gamecock junior served up an ace and a Tiger miscue on the ensuing rally got the game to deuce. Blevins went on to serve out the game to make the score 7-5. Koroleva, though, managed to serve out the match in the next game to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead heading to singles play.

The Gamecocks’ Katerina Popova and Brigit Folland had a commanding 7-2 lead on Tristen Dewar and Romy Koelzer on court two. Clemson came charging back and won three straight games to make the score 7-5. Play was then suspended once the Tigers had clinched the doubles point.

In singles, the Tigers swept the first sets in singles to put Carolina in an uphill battle. No. 54 Koelzer ended up winning 6-1, 6-1 over Lechemia on court three for Clemson’s second point of the match and Rompies made it 3-0 after she defeated Caroline Dailey at six singles 6-1, 6-3. Minutes after her win, No. 40 Koroleva secured the win for Clemson, holding off No. 112 Folland 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 1 position.

The remaining matches on courts two, four and five saw the Gamecocks recovering nicely in the second sets. After losing the first 6-3, No. T-69 Popova gained a 2-0 advantage on No. T-90 Gumulya on court two, and Blevins grabbed a 4-2 lead after losing the first set 6-4 to Miao at No. 4 singles. Siles Luna stormed out to a 3-0 advantage in the second against No. 85 Dewar at five after falling 6-2 in the first.

Blevins eventually split sets with Miao, winning the second 6-2 to force a super tiebreaker for the third. At the time, Popova was tied 4-all with Gumulya and Siles Luna led Dewar 5-2. As Blevins took a 5-3 lead in the breaker, Popova held serve to beat Gumulya 6-4 in the second to force a super tiebreaker of her own. Blevins raced ahead 7-3 and later gave herself several match points up 9-5 and ended up with a 10-6 triumph.

Popova had a 4-2 lead in her breaker when Blevins collected the Gamecocks’ first points of the contest. She still had a two-point advantage at the second changeover, which is when Siles Luna and Dewar entered a tiebreaker for their second set. Popova held on for a 10-7 victory to make the score 4-2.

The remaining match on court five saw Siles Luna take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker with the serve. Dewar, however, got two mini breaks for a chance to serve for the match. Siles Luna fended off match point to make it 6-all at the second changeover and then got another mini break for a chance to force a third set. Once again, Dewar got two more mini breaks for another match point, which she capitalized on for a 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) final.

South Carolina hosts its final doubleheader of the season Friday taking on South Carolina State at 1 p.m. followed by North Florida at 6:30 p.m.

1. #40 Yana Koroleva, CU, def. #112 Brigit Folland, USC, 6-1, 6-4
2. #T-69 Katerina Popova, USC, def. #T-90 Beatrice Gumulya, CU, 3-6, 6-4, (10-7)
3. #54 Romy Koelzer, CU, def. Elixane Lechemia, USC, 6-1, 6-1
4. Meghan Blevins, USC, def. Yuilynn Miao, CU, 4-6, 6-2, (10-6)
5. #85 Tristen Dewar, CU, Ximena Siles Luna, USC, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7)
6. Jessy Rompies, CU, def. Caroline Dailey, USC, 6-1, 6-3

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

1. #55 Gumulya/Koroleva, CU, def. Blevins/Lechemia, USC, 8-5
2. Folland/Popova, USC, def. Dewar/Koelzer, CU, 7-5 susp.
3. Miao/Rompies, CU, def. Siles Luna/Dominika Kanakova, USC, 8-3

Order of Finish: 3, 1