Akli Has Career Day at NCAA Championships
Orlando, Fla. – South Carolina women’s tennis senior Ayana Akli had a stellar day in the Rounds of 32 at the NCAA Championships on Tuesday. She started her day off with a commanding singles win and wrapped it up by making her way to the Round of 16 in her debut Doubles Championship alongside partner Sarah Hamner.
In her second-round singles match, Akli took on No. 54 Ozlem Uslu of Virginia Tech at 9 a.m. Akli made advancing to the Round of 16 look easy, defeating Uslu 6-0, 6-1 in under an hour of play.
Akli’s trip to the Round of 16 is the furthest that she has ever advanced in the Singles Championships. In 2021 Akli advanced to the second-round while in 2022 her journey was stopped in the first round. For advancing to the Round of 16, Akli has already clinched the title of ITA All-American in singles, the first All-America honor of her career. The All-America honorees will be officially announced at the conclusion of the Championships.
Akli now moves on to face No. 45 Carly Briggs of Florida on Wednesday. The two SEC competitors have already met once this season with Akli taking the win 6-2, 6-1 in Columbia. The time for their rematch will be announced at the conclusion of all of Tuesday’s matches.
In doubles, Akli and partner Hamner fell victim to Orlando’s nightly thunderstorms, forcing their match into a weather delay. Their match, originally scheduled for outside at 4:00 p.m., was moved indoors due to rain and didn’t begin until just after 7:30 p.m.
The No. 33-ranked Gamecock pair took on No. 30 Julia Andreach and Carrie Beckman of Notre Dame. Akli and Hamner got hot early, claiming a pair of breaks to jump out to a 4-1 lead and didn’t slow down, claiming the first set 6-2.
In the second set, South Carolina’s team got off to a rocky start, being broken on their first service game to trail 0-2. The pair righted their ship immediately and channeled their momentum into a five-game run to lead 5-2. From there each team took their own service games for the Gamecocks to win it with a 6-3 second set.
This was both Gamecocks’ first appearance in the NCAA Doubles Championships and their first time advancing to the Round of 16. They now move on to face Salma Ewing and Jayci Goldsmith of Texas A&M. The Aggie pair enters the Round of 16 after upsetting a No. 5-8 seeded pair in the first round.
Additional information on the Championships, including draws, results, and spectator information can be found on the Tournament Central webpage.
For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).
Singles Round of 32
(12) Ayana Akli (SC) def. (54) Ozlem Uslu (VT) 6-0, 6-1
Doubles Round of 32
(33) Ayana Akli/Sarah Hamner (SC) def. (30) Julia Andreach/Carrie Beckman (ND) 6-2, 6-3