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    Today In SEC Tennis: January 21

    South Carolina Earns 6-1 Win Over Winthrop

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 21, 2013) — The No. 31 South Carolina women’s tennis team opened the 2013 season with a 6-1 victory against Winthrop on Monday at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C. Carolina faces USC Upstate at 3 p.m. today in the second match of a doubleheader.

    In doubles, South Carolina dominated on both courts one and two with a pair of 8-1 victories. At one, No. 46-ranked Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova raced out to a 5-0 lead on Yasmine Alkema and Andressa Garcia before the Eagles registered their first and only game. Josefin Andersson and Katerina Popova provided the clinching win for doubles, winning seven straight games on court two after a 1-all tie versus Alice Garcia and Giovanna Portioli.

    The No. 3 doubles match between South Carolina’s Adriana Pereira and Ximena Siles Luna, and Winthrop’s Caitlin Cridland and Ekin Gunaysu was suspended following Andersson and Popova’s triumph. The match was on serve with the Gamecocks leading 5-4.

    The Gamecocks pushed ahead 2-0 thanks to Kanakova’s straight set 6-3, 6-3 victory against Alice Garcia at the No. 3 spot. Kanakova improved to 4-1 on the season with the win.

    Carolina had to wait a considerable amount of time to score its next point with matches on courts five and six going three sets. At five, Pereira won easily in the first set 6-1 versus Cridland but faltered 6-2 in the second. With the score tied 1-all in the third, Pereira managed to grab a 3-1 lead and held on for a 6-4 victory to put her team on top 3-0.

    The next two matches finished within minutes of each other. Portioli won a hotly contested match at the No. 4 singles position against Siles Luna to make it 3-1. Portioli sprinted to a 3-0 advantage in the first set before Siles Luna cut the gap to 4-3. Siles Luna came back to make it 5-all and eventually forced a tiebreaker, but Portioli dominated in the breaker for a 7-1 win. In the second, Portioli recorded a 6-2 victory to seal the victory and snap Siles Luna’s seven-match unbeaten streak.

    Andersson provided the Gamecocks with the clinching point at the No. 6 spot. After blanking Gunaysu 6-0 in the first set, Gunaysu recovered to take the second 6-4. Andersson claimed the first three games in the third, however, Gunaysu fought back to make the score 3-2. Andersson then won two straight and survived a late push by Gunaysu to take the match 6-4.

    Popova wasted no time making the score 5-1 for the Gamecocks with a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Andressa Garcia on court two. Alawi closed out the day for South Carolina by earning a 6-2, 6-3 win against Alkema at the top singles position. It marked Alawi’s 10th win of the 2012-13 season.

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    No. 9 UK Men’s Tennis Sweeps Season Openers
     
    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s tennis team began the 2013 season on Sunday afternoon with two 7-0 wins, as the Wildcats knocked off Northern Kentucky and Morehead State to improve to 2-0 on the season at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky. The pair of wins are the first for head coach Cedric Kauffmann as the man in charge of the Wildcats.
     
    “I am happy with the way our freshman played today and the way we played as a team,” Kauffmann said after obtaining his first two wins as the head coach of the men’s tennis team. “I thought our focus and intensity was on the right track and we kept our head in the match for its entirety.”
     
    In the season-opening match, the Wildcats dismissed the Northern Kentucky Norse 7-0 after claiming every set of the match it its favor. Kentucky picked up the doubles point with two wins from of their top doubles teams. No. 35 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai won on court No. 1 with an 8-1 win, which was followed veryquickly by a victorious duo of Anthony Rossi and Grant Roberts who won their match 8-0 to clinch the doubles point for Kentucky. Also in doubles action,Alejandro Gomez and freshman Beck Pennington came out victorious as they knocked off Balint Zsidai and Jody Mahinley of NKU 8-4.
     
    “I was really pleased with our doubles play,” Kauffmann said. “Doubles was something that we had been stressing in practice, so it was nice to see theplayers transfer that dedication and effort in practice to the match.”
     
    Singles were much of the same for the Wildcats, as UK did not drop a single set in all six matches played. The highlights of singles were Beck Pennington and JuanPablo Murra for the Cats, as combined, they only lost two games in four sets. At No. 4 singles, Murra defeated Andre Correa of NKU 6-0, 6-1. Earning his first-career NCAA dual match win was Pennington who decisively won 6-1, 6-0 on court No. 6.
     
    Senior captain Anthony Rossi turned in a solid performance at the No. 1 position, claiming the match 6-1, 6-3. Rossi was one of four UK players to win in both singles and doubles in the opening match. Joining Rossi in that ring was Kevin Lai, Gomez and Pennington.
     
    Lai, a native of Taiwan, earned his first-career win as a Wildcat in straight sets as well, claiming a 7-6, 6-4 win on No. 2 singles versus Guillaume Berman of NKU.
     
    “I thought we did a really good job of jumping out from the opening ball,” UK assistant coach Matt Emery said.” We were ready to go from the start and we did a good job of keeping our intensity and focus throughout the whole match.”
     
    In the nightcap, Kentucky had more of the same effort and intensity as UK downed the Morehead State Eagles 7-0.
     
    The Wildcats jumped out to the doubles point quickly, earning wins on courts one and three to clinch the point. Jomby and Lai yet again had a quality outing, solidifying their ranking as No. 35 in the nation winning their match over Ji Hoon Heo and Giovanni Samaha 8-0, as the UK doubles pair won 16 of the 17 games they played on Sunday in competition.
     
    Also earning wins in doubles was Gomez and Ryuji Hirooka, who took an 8-3 resultfrom Hugo Almonte and Nathan Martin of Morehead. In addition, the 3-0 doubles sweep was capped by an 8-0 blanking by Panav Jha and Maks Gold who catapulted over Kevin Deligny and David Clifford of the Eagles for the win.
     
    In singles, Kentucky showed its versatility in its line-up as all 12 players on the roster recorded wins today. The Wildcats won the opening set in four of the six singles matches (Courts 1,2,3 and 4) by a scored of 6-0, as UK won the first 24 games of the match.
     
    Gaining wins for UK in singles over Morehead  on courts one through four were No. 94 Rossi (6-0, 6-1), No. 15 Jomby (6-0, 6-0), Gold (6-0, 6-1), Murra (6-0, 6-0).
     
    Capping off the night was Roberts and Hirooka who played No. 5 and No. 6 doubles respectfully. In the No. 5 slot, Roberts took the match over Giovanni Samaha of MSU 6-2, 6-3, while Hirooka took claim to a 6-0, 6-1 singles win over the Eagles Hugo Almonta.

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    LADY VOLS BOUNCE BACK AGAINST NORTHWESTERN

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.  –  On the final day of the UVA Winter Invitational, the University of Tennessee women’s tennis team battled against No. 13 Northwestern and came away with four wins.

    “We finished off the tournament strong. I am really pleased with the improvement in the team from yesterday to today,” said co-head coach Mike Patrick. “Their energy level and focus were much better. This weekend we competed against three good teams, and it will help to prepare us for next week at the ITA Kickoff Weekend.”

    Two of the wins came at the hands of Brynn Boren who, alongside Kata Szekely, went undefeated in doubles play on the weekend to earn the honor of UVA Winter Invitational Doubles Champions. Boren, with two wins on the weekend at No. 1 singles, was named Co-Singles Champion alongside UVA’s Julia Elbaba and Northwestern’s Kate Turvy.  

    “It is nice to once again have tournament champions in in Kata and Brynn in singles and doubles,” said Patrick.  “They battled this weekend.”

    The Lady Vols began the day on a positive note taking two of three in the doubles round. No. 41 ranked Joanna Henderson and Caitlyn Williams jumped out to a quick lead and continued on to an easy 8-2 finish over Brittany Wowchuk and Belinda Niu.

    Despite dropping behind 0-3 early, the No. 12 doubles duo of Boren and Szekely rebounded and scored eight of the next nine points to come away with an 8-4 win over No. 42 Linda Abu Mushrefova and Nida Hamilton.

    The win was the 20th of the season for Boren and Szekely and 10th over a ranked opponent. The duo finished the weekend undefeated.

    In singles play, Boren and Szekely kept their momentum going as Kata walked off with an easy 6-1, 6-1 victory over Alicia Barnett for the first singles win on the day while Boren finished up a little while later with a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 67 Kate Turvy.

    At No. 3 singles, Williams battled in a three-hour, three set match, ultimately falling 1-6, 6-3, 3-6 to Niu while her doubles teammate Henderson dropped a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Wowchuk.

    For the second day in a row, Mimi Fotopoulos forced the first set to a tiebreak and for the second day in a row came away with the first set victory. Unlike her match Sunday, Fotopoulos went on to take the second set for a 7-6 (3), 6-2 win.

    Tiffany Tavares came out on fire earning a shutout win in the first set of her match at No. 6 singles. Tavares faltered a little in the second set dropping it 5-7 and could not regain momentum ultimately falling 6-0, 5-7, 3-6.

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    No. 11 Bulldogs Trounce No. 55 Rice To Sweep Opening Weekend
     
    HOUSTON, Texas – Houston was wrapped in Maroon and White this weekend, as the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-0) defeated the 55th-ranked Rice Owls (0-2) to sweep weekend play at the Jake Hess Tennis Stadium.
     
    Just as they did Sunday in a 5-2 victory against No. 29 Texas Tech, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead by taking the doubles point. However, freshmen dominated the doubles play Monday.
     
    State’s 28th-ranked duo of freshman Jordan Angus and junior Malte Stropp got off to a fast start and cruised to victory against Rice’s Jonathan Chang and Peter Frank, winning 8-2.
     
    At the three spot, the MSU freshmen tandem of Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont fought close against Rice’s Philipp Seifert and Leif Berger for a majority of the match, eventually pulling away for the doubles point-clinching win 8-5.
     
    In the remaining doubles match, Bulldogs Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson fought tooth-and-nail against the Owls’ Tommy Bennett and Adam Gustafsson, but dropped their match 8-6.
     
    In singles play, the lineup saw a slight change from Sunday, as Angus moved up to the fifth spot and White played at No. 6.
     
    White wasted no time with his match, jumping out early and defeating Berger in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3.
     
    In a similar situation to Sunday’s match, the Bulldogs had two matches finish almost simultaneously to clinch the win against the Owls.
     
    MSU’s Angus had to battle early in the first set, but found a groove for the remainder of the match and dispatched Seifert in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.
     
    Shortly after Angus’ win, State’s 81st-ranked junior Stropp also found victory, defeating Frank 7-5, 6-1 and clinching the 11th-ranked Bulldogs’ victory against the No. 55 Owls.
     
    Play continued following the match-clinching win by Stropp, with senior James Chaudry finding victory as well. Chaudry, who won the first set with ease, was forced into a second set tiebreaker, but battled out a straight-set victory 6-3, 7-6(6).
     
    State’s top-ranked player, No. 25 Bogaerts, followed Chaudry’s win with one of his own, but needed three sets to fight off Chang. Following an easy win in the first, Bogaerts dropped his second set to Chang 6-1, but fired back with a vengeance in the third, defeating Rice’s top seed 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.
     
    In the final singles match of the day, freshman Stefan Vinti put together the toughest battle of the match, but fell in three sets to Rice’s Bennett 1-6, 6-4, 7-5.

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    Women’s Tennis Cruises Past USC Upstate 4-0 Gamecocks Claim Both Matches of Doubleheader to Start 2013 Season

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 21, 2013) — The 31st-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team won its second match of a doubleheader Monday at the USC Field House in Columbia, S.C., with a 4-0 victory over USC Upstate. Earlier in the day, the Gamecocks upended Winthrop 6-1.

    The Gamecocks quickly took the doubles point, partly because of some misfortune for USC Upstate. On court two, South Carolina’s Katerina Popova and Josefin Andersson led Isabel von Stryk and Talia Rojas 3-1. After five rallies in the fifth game, von Stryk went down with an injury and was unable to continue, giving the Gamecocks the victory. Jaklin Alawi and Dominika Kanakova then clinched the doubles point with a convincing 8-0 triumph against Julie Bell and Taylor Cohen at the top position.

    At No. 3 doubles, South Carolina’s tandem of Alex Martin and Adriana Pereira trailed the Spartans’ Constanze Kuerten and Allison Beller 5-2 when play was suspended. The match was tied 2-all before USC Upstate ran off three consecutive games.

    South Carolina won three quick matches in singles play to improve to 2-0 on the year. Pereira picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win from Rojas at the No. 4 position after winning a three-set match in her first contest of the day versus Winthrop. Pereira won eight games in a row before surrendering a game to Rojas and moved above .500 for the year with a 4-3 record.

    Siles Luna recovered from a disappointing straight set loss to Winthrop by serving up a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Beller on court five to make the score 3-0 for Carolina. The freshman upped her singles mark to 13-3 with the win, the top record for the Gamecocks this season.

    Fellow newcomer Martin gave the Gamecocks their fourth and final point of the tilt with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Bell at No. 6 singles. Martin actually dropped the first game of the match before storming back to win nine straight versus Bell. Once Bell cut a 3-0 second set deficit to 3-2, Martin responded by claiming the next three games.

    Once the match had been decided, Kanakova and Cohen agreed to finish the first set tiebreaker they had started. Kanakova fell behind 5-2 in the first set to Cohen before mounting a comeback to force the breaker. Kanakova was down 2-1 in the tiebreaker once Martin secured the match for the Gamecocks, but she went on to win six of the next seven rallies to earn a 7-3 victory.

    “I think everyone was a little nervous, it being the first match,” South Carolina head coach Kevin Epley said. “I think the initial match, we were a little bit frustrated with some of the energy and those sort of things, but they cleaned it up pretty good for the second match. So, I feel like we grew throughout the day. By the end, I feel like we at least have created a base by which we can go into nationals next week.”