Akli Advances to Round of 32 With Commanding Win
Orlando, Fla. – South Carolina women’s tennis senior Ayana Akli advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Singles Championships with a commanding victory in her first-round match on Monday. No. 12 Akli took down No. 42 Emma Jackson of Duke 6-3, 6-3 to book her spot in the second round.
To start the match, Jackson won the coin toss and elected to serve. Each player took their own service games through the first four to even it at two all, but Akli claimed the first break of the day to lead 3-2. Jackson responded with a break back, but Akli again claimed another to lead 4-3. The Gamecock took her next service game and broke Jackson one more time to take the first set 6-3.
The second set began with a break each way with Jackson taking a game off of Akli’s first serve and Akli responding by taking a game off of Jackson’s first serve. Each player took their own service games through the next three, but Akli was able to secure another break while up 3-2 to increase her lead to 4-2. The deficit proved too much for Jackson to overcome, giving Akli with win with a 6-3 second set.
Akli now moves on to face No. 54 Ozlem Uslu of Virginia Tech. Uslu punched her ticket to the second round after defeating No. 39 Kylie Collins of LSU 6-2, 6-4.
No. 25 Sarah Hamner also competed in the Round of 64 on Monday but fell to No. 26 Amelia Rajecki of NC State in three sets. Hamner earned and early break in the first set and held the lead for most of the set but Rajecki broke back late, forcing it to a tiebreaker. Hamner struggled in the breaker, only putting one point on the board before her Wolfpack counterpart claimed the first set 7-6(1).
Hamner served first in the second set and play appeared even throughout until Hamner broke Rajecki’s serve while up 4-3 to extend her lead to 5-3. She was then able to serve out the set to take it 6-3.
In the third set, Hamner and Rajecki again began evenly but Hamner began to show signs of pain and was forced to take a medical timeout. The Gamecock was never able to recover her game afterwards, falling 1-6 in the final set.
A time for Akli’s second round match will be announced after the conclusion of all first-round matches. Akli and Hamner have also been promoted into the draw of the Doubles Championship together. The No. 33-ranked Gamecock pair will take on No. 30 Julia Andreach and Carrie Beckman of Notre Dame at a time to be announced.
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Singles Round of 64
(12) Ayana Akli (SC) def. (42) Emma Jackson (Duke) 6-3, 6-3
(26) Amelia Rajecki (NCSU) def. (25) Sarah Hamner (SC) 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-1