Malkin Clinches in Unbelievable Comeback
Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina women’s tennis erased a three point deficit on Friday to defeat Kentucky 4-3 in Columbia. In a match that spanned nearly four hours and two facilities, the Gamecocks achieved a comeback for the ages after dropping the doubles point and two singles matches.
The match began at the Carolina Tennis Center with doubles where the Wildcats made a statement early. The newly paired up Gamecock duo of Sarah Hamner and Gracie Mulville were first to strike, earning a 6-1 win from the No. 2 position, but Kentucky didn’t give in, taking wins from the Nos. 1 and 3 positions to claim the doubles point.
Play transitioned to singles and matches were on their way to second sets when play was suspended due to rain. With no clear end in sight, the decision was made to move to the Carolina Indoor Tennis Center to continue action
Once indoors, all momentum was on the side of the Wildcats, with Kentucky taking wins on Courts 6 and 5 to go up 3-0.
No. 7 Ayana Akli was the first Gamecock to put a point on the board, winning her match 6-1, 6-4 over No. 74 Florencia Urrutia. Akli is now a perfect 9-0 in dual play and South Carolina remains the only team in the league with a perfect mark at the top spot in the lineup.
No. 14 Hamner was next to put up a point, with an interesting match that took three sets for the decision. Hamner won her first set 6-4 while on the outdoor courts, but couldn’t get going indoors, giving up her second set 0-6. The Gamecock was finally able to right her ship and flipped the script on her opponent, blanking the Wildcat in the final set 6-0.
Mulville was the one to tie the match up at 3-3 for the team with her win from the No. 3 position. The sophomore took down her opponent 6-4, 7-5 for a much needed win after having been in a dry spell for the last four matches. The win is Mulville’s first SEC victory of the season.
With the score evened, all eyes turned to Court 4 where sophomore Misa Malkin was taking on Kentucky’s Lidia Gonzalez. The Wildcat came out strong, taking the first set 6-1, but Malkin responded with a 6-2 win in the second set to even the decision.
The final set appeared even initially with Malkin serving first and each competitor taking their own service games through the first five. While up 3-2, Malkin was able to earn a break and never looked back, taking the final set 6-2 to clinch the match for the Gamecocks. South Carolina is now 7-6 overall and 2-2 in SEC play.
The women’s tennis team will complete their five-match homestand on Sunday, hosting No. 23 Vanderbilt at the Carolina Tennis Center at 1p.m.
For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).
#34 South Carolina 4, #68 Kentucky 3
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 3, 1)
- Elizabth Stevens/Carlota Molina (UK) def. Ayana Akli/Allie Gretkowski (SC) 6-3
- Sarah Hamner/Gracie Mulville (SC) def. Makayla Miills/Florencia Urrutia (UK) 6-1
- Ellie Eades/Zoe Hammond (UK) def. Misa Malkin/Alice Otis (SC) 6-2
Singles (order of finish: 6, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4)
- #7 Ayana Akli (SC) def. #74 Florencia Urrutia (UK) 6-1, 6-4
- #14 Sarah Hamner (SC) def. Elizabth Stevens (UK) 6-4, 0-6, 6-0
- Gracie Mulville (SC) def. Carlota Molina (UK) 6-4, 7-5
- Misa Malkin (SC) def. Lidia Gonzalez (UK) 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
- Zoe Hammond (UK) def. Elise Mills (SC) 6-4, 6-1
- Maialen Morante (UK) def. Allie Gretkowski (SC) 6-2, 6-2