Gamecock Duo Advances to ITA All-American Quarters
Cary, N.C. – South Carolina women’s tennis is the only program to have two entries in the 2023 ITA All-American Championships singles quarterfinals after fifth-year senior Ayana Akli and junior Sarah Hamner posted a pair of top-12 wins at Cary Tennis Park Thursday morning. It marks the first time in program history that two Gamecocks have advanced that far in the event.
In a battle of SEC No. 1s, Akli, ranked seventh in the nation, faced No. 12 Celia-Belle Mohr of Vanderbilt, and the Gamecock veteran put her conference rival on the ropes from the opening serve. After battling to a tough three-set win over Mohr in the 2023 regular season, Akli exploded into Thursday’s match, taking the first set 6-0. The momentum continued into the second with Akli serving at 5-1. Mohr showed signs of life, going up Love-40, but Akli did not relent. Three strong first serves set up easy finishes to get to deuce. Match point took a few more shots, but Akli closed out the 6-1 win after Mohr’s backhand up the line went wide.
No. 25 Hamner also thrived in the round of 16, scoring her second top-10 win this fall with a 6-3, 6-3 outcome against No. 10 Amelia Rajecki of NC State. Like Akli, Hamner was pushed in her final service game at 30-all before she turned a pair of big serves into victory. Rajecki’s return sailed long to set up match point, which the Gamecock junior delivered with an ace.
In consolation doubles action Thursday afternoon, Akli and Hamner bounced back from yesterday’s tough loss to overpower the Tennessee duo of Esther Adeshina and Sofia Cabezas 6-1, 6-1
In Friday’s singles quarterfinals, Akli will face No. 24 Kari Miller of Michigan. Hamner will take on No. 47 Jessica Alsola of California.
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ITA All-American Championship Results
Main Draw Singles Round of 16
(7) Ayana Akli (SC) def. (12) Celia-Belle Mohr (Vandy) 6-0, 6-1
(25) Sarah Hamner (SC) def. (10) Amelia Rajecki (NCSU) 6-3, 6-3
Main Draw Consolation Doubles Round of 16
(10) Ayana Akli/Sarah Hamner (SC) def. Ester Adeshina/Sofia Cabezas (TN) 6-1, 6-1