South Carolina Captures 4-3 Upset Over No. 13 Auburn
Columbia, S.C. – No. 34 South Carolina earned a 4-3 win over No. 13 Auburn on Friday at the Carolina Tennis Center. After securing the doubles point, the Gamecocks continued to battle in singles and junior No. 57 Ayana Akli clinched the top-15 win in a competitive match in the No. 2 spot.
Doubles favored the Gamecocks with Akli and Ana Cruz quickly taking the lead on Court 1. They went up 2-0 before Auburn could get on the board, and the one game that went to the Tigers would be their last. Akli and Cruz dominated on their way to the 6-1 win to give South Carolina the foundation to take doubles. On Court 5, Misa Malkin and Elise Mills were neck-in-neck with their Auburn opponents. The match reached four games all before the Gamecock pair locked in to clinch the doubles point with a 6-4 victory.
In singles, Auburn would take the first two points with wins in the Nos. 5 and 1 spots, respectively. The next point was decided on Court 3 where graduate student Megan Davies faced No. 87 Carolyn Ansari. Davies showed her strength in the first set to claim the 6-4 win. She dominated in the second set and was up 5-1 before Ansari completed a comeback to go ahead 6-5.
Davies continued to fight and sent her match to a tiebreak, in which she built to a 5-2 lead. Ansari made it even at 5-5 but Davies took off from there. She notched the next two points to win 6-4, 7-6 (5) to give South Carolina its second point of the match.
Shortly thereafter, No. 104 Mills wrapped up her match on Court 4 against Adeline Flach. Mills stayed ahead in the first set until Flach caught up 6-6. The Gamecock junior continued to impress in the tiebreak on her way to a 7-6 (5) win. The second set favored the Tiger who went ahead 4-1, but Mills was solid. She caught up at four games all and the two continued to compete before entering a second tiebreak. Points were closely contested but it would be Mills who found her footing to outlast her competitor. She claimed the 7-6 (6) second set win to help South Carolina inch closer to the upset.
Matches on Courts 2 and 6 were each in a third set with the match on the line. On Court 2, No. 57 Akli split sets with No. 70 Ariana Arseneault with Akli taking the first set 6-4 and Arseneault battling back to notch the 7-5 second set win.
Akli went up 3-0 in the final set before Arseneault could get on the board. The Gamecock junior would go up 5-2, but Arsenault closed in with two game wins of her own. Akli remained a force to be reckoned with and hit a powerful forehand that Arsenault sent out of bounds to award South Carolina the upset over Auburn. The Tigers took the last point on Court 6 bringing the final score to South Carolina 4, Auburn 3.
The Gamecocks continue their homestand when they face No. 42 Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m. for Senior Day. Sunday’s match will be South Carolina’s final match at home.
(34) South Carolina def. (13) Auburn 4-3
Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3*)
1. No. 30 Megan Davies/Sarah Hamner (SC) vs. No. 12 Selin Ovunc/Ariana Arseneault (AU) 5-4 DNF
2. Ayana Akli/Ana Cruz (SC) def. Georgie Axon/Adeline Flach (AU) 6-1
3. Elise Mills/Misa Malkin (SC) def. Carolyn Ansari/Madeline Meredith (AU) 6-4
Singles (Order of Finish: 5, 2, 3, 4, 2*, 6)
1. No. 69 Selin Ovunc (AU) def. No. 2 Sarah Hamner (SC) 7-5, 6-4
2. No. 57 Ayana Akli (SC) def. No. 70 Ariana Arseneault (AU) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
3. Megan Davies (SC) def. No. 87 Carolyn Ansari (AU) 6-4, 7-6 (5)
4. No. 104 Elise Mills (SC) def. Adeline Flach (AU) 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6)
5. Georgie Axon (AU) def. Misa Malkin (SC) 6-2, 6-2
6. Yu Chen (AU) def. Gracie Mulville (SC) 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3)