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Gamecocks Advance to Quarterfinals of SEC Tournament
Women's Tennis  . 

Gamecocks Advance to Quarterfinals of SEC Tournament

Athens, Ga.  – ­No. 19 South Carolina women’s tennis advanced to the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament after defeating No. 30 Alabama 4-3 on Thursday morning. The Gamecock dropped the doubles point but completed the comeback in singles.

In doubles, the Crimson Tide claimed the point thanks to a pair of wins from the top of the lineup. At the No. 1 position, No. 21 Loudmilla Bencheikh and Anne Marie Hiser defeated No. 22 Sarah Hamner and Ayana Akli 6-3 before the Tide clinched the point from Court 2 where Petra Sedlackova and Anna Parkhomenko defeated Shahar Biran and Elise Mills 6-4.

In singles play, junior Misa Malkin was first to put a point on the board. After giving up a break on her first service game to fall 0-2, Malkin was able to break back to even things up at 2-2. Her and her opponent Klara Milicevic both traded service games to the end, forcing the set to a tiebreaker.

In the breaker, Malkin took an early 3-1 lead and looked to close the set out after being up 6-3, but Milicevic rallied to tie things up at 6-6 and again at 7-7. From there, the Gamecock was able to claim a point off of Alabama’s serve and win the set on her own serve 7-6(7).

In the second set, Malkin carried her positive momentum through, using it to shut Milicevic out 6-0 to win her match and tie things up at 1-1.

South Carolina was then able to take its first lead of the day with Mills winning her match on Court 4. Mills perfectly timed a late break to take the first set 6-4 and repeated her success in the second set to win it 7-5 for the match.

The Crimson Tide never let the Gamecocks get too far ahead though with Parkhomakeno defeating Olympe Lancelot on Court 5 to tie things up again at 2-2.

South Carolina again took the lead thanks to Hamner who was playing at the No. 1 position for the first time this season. No. 95 Sedlackova claimed the first set off Hamner 6-1 but the Gamecock came out on the right set of a tight second set 7-5 to even things up. The decisive third set was all Hamner with the junior shutting her opponent out 6-0 to claim the match.

The Tide rallied one last time to tie at 3-3 with Ola Pitak winning the match on Court 3 over Biran, leaving the match decision in the hands of No. 9 Akli who split sets with No. 57 Bencheikh. The Gamecock took the first 6-4 and Bencheikh took the second set 6-3.

In the final set to decide the match, Akli was broken early and fell 1-3 but never gave in, going on a run to claim the next five games, to win the match with a 6-3 final set.

The women’s tennis team now advances to the quarterfinals where they will face No. 3 seed Florida on Friday, April 19, at 9:00 a.m. The two teams faced in the SEC regular season finale just five days ago with the Gators winning 4-2 in Gainesville.

For all the latest South Carolina women’s tennis information, continue to follow or the team on social media (@GamecockWTennis).

#19 South Carolina 4, #30 Alabama 3

Doubles (order of finish: 1, 2)

  1. #21 Anne Marie Hiser/Loudmilla Bencheikh (BAMA) def. #22 Sarah Hamner/Ayana Akli (SCAR) 6-3
  2. Petra Sedlackova/Anna Parkhomenko (BAMA) def. Shahar Biran/Elise Mills (SCAR) 6-4
  3. Olympe Lancelot/Misa Malkin (SCAR) vs. Klara Milicevic/Ola Pitak (BAMA) 4-5, unfinished

Singles (order of finish: 6, 4, 5, 1, 3, 2)

  1. #16 Sarah Hamner (SCAR) def. #95 Petra Sedlackova (BAMA) 1-6, 7-5, 6-0
  2. #9 Ayana Akli (SCAR) def. #57 Loudmilla Bencheikh (BAMA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
  3. Ola Pitak (BAMA) def. Shahar Biran (SCAR) 7-6 (7-2), 7-5
  4. Elise Mills (SCAR) def. Anne Marie Hiser (BAMA) 6-4, 7-5
  5. Anna Parkhomenko (BAMA) def. Olympe Lancelot (SCAR) 6-3, 6-3
  6. Misa Malkin (SCAR) def. Klara Milicevic (BAMA) 7-6 (9-7), 6-0