Women’s Tennis Wins Fifth Straight SEC Match
Columbia, S.C. – No. 25 South Carolina women’s tennis defeated No. 54 Arkansas 4-3 on Friday night for their fifth straight SEC victory. The Gamecocks took the doubles point and three of the six singles matches for the narrow win.
In doubles, the Razorbacks were first to strike, taking the No. 2 match 6-2. The No. 1 court was next to finish with No. 70 Ayana Akli and Sarah Hamner upsetting the nation’s No. 23 pair of Indianna Spink and Morgan Cross 6-3.
The decision came down to doubles No. 3 where Allie Gretkowski and Ana Cruz had battled back from down 1-3 to tie their match at 3-3. From there, both teams took their own service games, forcing the match to a tiebreaker. The Gamecocks jumped out to an early lead in the tiebreaker, going up 3-0 to start. The Razorbacks took the next two points but that’s all Cruz and Gretkowski would allow, claiming the next four points to win the tiebreaker 7-2, securing what proved to be a critical doubles points.
Cruz and Gretkowski are now on a five-match win streak together and remain a perfect 5-0 from the No. 3 position.
In singles, No. 6 Akli was the first to record a win, shutting out her opponent No. 79 Kelly Keller 6-0, 6-0. Akli wrapped up her match in just under 50 minutes and now has a 16-match win streak. She is a perfect 13-0 from the No. 1 position and 7-0 against SEC opponents.
The Razorbacks didn’t let South Carolina extend their lead too far, responding with a 6-1, 6-1 win on Court 6 to put the match at 2-1.
Sophomore Misa Malkin was the next Gamecock to tally a win, taking her first set 6-3 and shutting her opponent out in the second set to win it 6-0. Malkin’s win streak is now a five with four of them coming in straight sets. Malkin has yet to drop a singles match in conference play.
The next two matches went in favor of Arkansas with both needing three sets for the decision. Sophomore Gracie Mulville fell to Spink 1-6, 6-0, 1-6, while No. 16 Hamner fell to No. 85 Carolina Gomez-Alonso 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, to even the match at 3-3.
The final match on was between senior Elise Mills and Cross on Court 5. Cross took the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6(4), but Mills evened it with a 6-3 second set. With all eyes on the third set for the decision, Cross made the first move, taking her service game and breaking Mills on her first for a 2-0 lead. Mills responded with a break back and took her own next service game to even it at two all.
Neither player could seem to take their own service games through the next three, but Mills came out on the upper side of it, leading 4-3 while on serve. The Gamecock finally took her own service game to extend her lead to 5-3 and was able to pick up her fourth break of the set to close it out 6-3 for the match victory, clinching South Carolina’s win 4-3.
This win is South Carolina’s fifth consecutive SEC victory and makes them 11-6 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
The women’s tennis team will play their final home match on Sunday, hosting Missouri at the Carolina Tennis Center at 11:00 a.m. The match will recognize graduating senior Cruz prior to the competition.
For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).
#25 South Carolina 4, #54 Arkansas 3
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 1, 3)
- #70 Ayana Akli/Sarah Hamner (SC) def. #23 Indianna Spink/Morgan Cross (ARKW) 6-3
- Grace O’Donnell/Lenka Stara (ARKW) def. Gracie Mulville/Alice Otis (SC) 6-2
- Ana Cruz/Allie Gretkowski (SC) def. Kelly Keller/Carolina Gomez (ARKW) 7-6 (7-2)
Singles (order of finish: 1, 6, 4, 3, 2, 5)
- #6 Ayana Akli (SC) def. #79 Kelly Keller (ARKW) 6-0, 6-0
- #85 Carolina Gomez (ARKW) def. #16 Sarah Hamner (SC) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
- Indianna Spink (ARKW) def. Gracie Mulville (SC) 6-2, 0-6, 6-1
- Misa Malkin (SC) def. Lenka Stara (ARKW) 6-3, 6-0
- Elise Mills (SC) def. Morgan Cross (ARKW) 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3
- Kacie Harvey (ARKW) def. McKenna Schaefbauer (SC) 6-1, 6-1