Akli, Hamner Prepped for NCAA Singles Championships
Orlando, Fla. – South Carolina women’s tennis senior Ayana Akli and sophomore Sarah Hamner will begin their journeys in the NCAA Singles Championship on Monday. They will compete on the collegiate courts at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. for a shot at the singles national title.
Akli earned a No. 9-16 seed at the event, her first time entering with a seed in her third consecutive year of earning a bid to the tournament. The Silver Spring, Maryland, native led the team this season with a 31-9 record. She went 16-3 in dual play, all at the No. 1 position and at one point held a 17-match win streak with 13 of those wins coming over ranked opponents. Overall, Akli went 22-9 against ranked foes and tallied wins over three top-20 opponents.
Hamner earned an at-large bid and is currently ranked No. 25 in the nation but has been ranked as high as No. 6 this season. She is 19-11 overall and earned seven of her wins in dual play – six from the No. 2 position and one from the No. 1 position. Hamner picked up ten ranked wins this season, her most notable coming over reigning Carolina Region Champion and then-No. 6 player Cameron Morra of Duke in the final of the ITA Carolina Region Championships in the fall, making Hamner the program’s first ITA Carolina Region Champion since 1988.
In the first round, Akli will face No. 42 Emma Jackson of Duke, taking the court at 9:00 a.m., while Hamner will take on No. 26 Amelia Rajecki of NC State at 11:30 a.m.
Akli and Jackson faced off in the fall at the ITA Carolina Regionals with Jackson taking the win in three sets, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. Jackson, a sophomore, went 22-11 overall this season and is making her NCAA Singles Championship debut.
Hamner and Rajecki have also previously faced this season, also at the ITA Carolina Regionals. In that match, the Gamecock defeated her Wolfpack counterpart in three sets, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2.
Akli and Hamner have also moved up to the No. 1 spot on the alternate list for the Doubles Championships after previously being the No. 5 alternate when the qualifiers were released. Updates on the Doubles Championships will be provided as they are made available.
More information on the Championships, including the full bracket and spectator information can be found on the Tournament Central webpage.
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