No. 47 Kentucky Women's Tennis Upsets No. 27 South Carolina on Senior Day
April 14, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women’s tennis team pulled off an upset on senior day, taking down No. 27 South Carolina 4-3 at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on Sunday.
“I am so excited for our team today,” UK head coach Carlos Drada said. “Today was our best competitive performance of the semester since every one of our players contributed to this win.”
Kentucky opened the match with an early 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point. The doubles match on court two finished first, giving South Carolina an early advantage toward the doubles point with an 8-2 win.
Junior Caitlin McGraw and freshman Nadia Ravita evened the pursuit toward the doubles point, taking the No. 1 doubles match 8-5 over Jaklin Awali and Dominika Kanakova, the 35th-ranked doubles tandem.
Left to decide the doubles point, court three was a constant back-and-forth. Junior Khristina Blajkevitch and senior Jessica Stiles had a 6-4 lead but South Carolina’s Elixane Lechemia and Ximena Siles Luna stormed back, winning three consecutive games to take a 7-6 lead. One game away from defeat, the Kentucky duo responded by winning three consecutive games to win the match 9-7, securing the doubles point for the Wildcats.
The Gamecocks won two singles matches early to take a 2-1 lead. Dominika Kanakova was the first to record a singles win, taking court four 6-2, 6-1.
On court three, Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff dropped the first set 6-0. Lechemia jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set but the sophomore stormed back with four consecutive games to tie the set at 5-5. The strong effort from Morin-Kougoucheff wasn’t enough, as she would eventually drop the second set 7-6 (0) to surrender the No. 3 singles point to South Carolina.
Ravita evened the scoreboard at 2-2 with a three-set win on court one. The freshman took the first set 7-5 but then faced a lull as she dropped the second set 6-0. The 22nd-ranked singles player bounced back and defeated No. 77 Jaklin Alawi by taking the third set 6-4.
With the match tied 2-2, all three remaining courts would go into a third set.
Stephanie Fox won the first set on court six in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (6) but dropped the second set 1-6. The sophomore dominated the final set, taking it 6-1 to claim the No. 6 singles point for UK.
Briefly after Fox boosted UK to a 3-2 lead, McGraw clinched the Kentucky win from the No. 5 singles slot. McGraw and Ximena Siles Luna split the first two sets but McGraw pulled away at the end of the third set, winning the match 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
With the match decided, court two was played out. Stiles took the first set 6-4 but Katerina Popova won the next two sets to claim the match and finalize the score at 4-3.
“We are eager to continue improving our competitive spirit but we are grateful to have beaten a great team on senior day,” Drada said. “Our ladies have put our team in a great position to play great tennis in the SEC tournament next week.”
Kentucky will now head to the Southeastern Conference Tournament, facing LSU on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Starkville, Miss. As the 11 seed, Kentucky will not receive a bye and will have to win five matches to win the conference tournament.
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No. 47 Kentucky - 4
No. 27 South Carolina – 3
1 – Caitlin McGraw/Nadia Ravita (UK) def. Jaklin Alawi/Dominika Kanakova (USC) 8-5
2 – Josefin Andersson/Katerina Popova (USC) def. Stephanie Fox/CeCe Witten (UK) 8-2
3 – Khristina Blajkevitch/Jessica Stiles (UK) def. Elixane Lechemia/Ximena Siles Luna (USC) 9-7
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3*
1 – Nadia Ravita (UK) def. Jaklin Alawi (USC) 7-5, 0-6, 6-4
2 – Katerina Popova (USC) def. Jessica Stiles (UK) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
3 – Elixane Lechemia (USC) def. Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff (UK) 6-0, 7-6 (0)
4 – Dominika Kanakova (USC) def. Khristina Blajkevitch (UK) 6-2, 6-1
5 – Caitlin McGraw (UK) def. Ximena Siles Luna (USC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
6 – Stephanie Fox (UK) def. Josefin Andersson (USC) 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-1
Order of Finish: 4, 3, 1, 6, 5*, 2