Women’s Tennis Earns Back-to-back SEC Road Wins
Columbia, S.C. – No. 26 South Carolina women’s tennis defeated Mississippi State 6-1 in Starkville on Sunday. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and won five of six singles matches for the victory.
In doubles, South Carolina’s No. 2 pair of sophomore Gracie Mulville and freshman Alice Otis were the first to get a win, defeating their opponents 6-3. It was the No. 3 pair of Ana Cruz and Allie Gretkowski who clinched the point for the Gamecocks, earning a 6-3 win of their own. The duo is now 11-5 overall and have clinched four doubles points together this season. No. 70 Ayana Akli and Sarah Hamner were leading their opponents 5-4 when play was suspended
Play moved to singles where the Bulldogs were quick to even the match at 1-1 with a win from Court 6. The tied score didn’t last long though with sophomore Misa Malkin earning a straight set win from Court 4. The Gamecock was relentless, taking her first set 6-3 and second set 6-2 for the victory. Malkin is now on a four-match win streak in singles.
The next point came from Mulville on Court 3. Her first set was a back and fourth battle with each player taking their own service games until the Gamecock earned a late break to take the first set 6-4. The second set was all Mulville with her playing a near shut-out and completing the set 6-1 for the win.
Senior Elise Mills delivered the match clinch for the team with a ranked win over No. 117 Maria Rizzolo. Mills took the first set 6-2 and battled through a gritty second set, winning it 7-5 for the victory.
Play continued with No. 16 Hamner putting the next point on the board. The sophomore took her first set 6-3 and was leading 4-1 in the second when her opponent Gia Cohen made a comeback. Cohen was able to tie the set a four all, five all, and six all to force a tiebreaker. Hamner jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the tiebreaker and was able to hold the momentum throughout, winning it 7-4 to complete the match.
The final match on was No. 6 Akli at the top spot in the lineup. Akli pulled out a gritty first set 7-5, but gave up her second 2-6. With the overall match already clinched, the final set was played as a ten-point tiebreaker. After tying at two all, Akli managed to pull away a bit, stretching her lead to 4-2 and then 6-3, but her opponent Emma Antonaki wasn’t giving in. While Akli was up 9-7 and within grasp of the win Antonaki battled back to put the score at 9-9 and took the her first lead of the tiebreaker at 10-9. Akli refused to lose, claiming the next three points to secure the tiebreaker set 12-10.
South Carolina women’s tennis will return to. Columbia for their final home matches of the season, hosting Arkansas on March 31 at 5:00 p.m. and Missouri on April 2 at 11:00 a.m. The match versus Missouri will be the team’s Senior Recognition day.
For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).
#26 South Carolina 6, Mississippi State 1
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 3)
- Emma Antonaki/Dharani Niroshan (MS) vs. #70 Ayana Akli/Sarah Hamner (SC) 4-5, unfinished
- Gracie Mulville/Alice Otis (SC) def. Maddie Bemisderfer/Gia Cohen (MS) 6-3
- Ana Cruz/Allie Gretkowski (SC) def. Sydney Hrehor/Alexandra Mikhailuk (MS) 6-
Singles (order of finish: 6, 4, 3, 5, 2, 1)
- #6 Ayana Akli (SC) def. Emma Antonaki (MS) 7-5, 2-6, 1-0 (12-10)
- #16 Sarah Hamner (SC) def. Gia Cohen (MS) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4)
- Gracie Mulville (SC) def. Alexandra Mikhailuk (MS) 6-4, 6-1
- Misa Malkin (SC) def. Dharani Niroshan (MS) 6-3, 6-2
- Elise Mills (SC) def. #117 Maria Rizzolo (MS) 6-2, 7-5
- Emily Surcey (MS) def. McKenna Schaefbauer (SC) 6-2, 6-1