Wednesday February 21st, 2024 12:50PM

TENNIS: No. 23 Lady Jackets fall to South Carolina

By Georgia Tech Athletic Association

ATLANTA — No. 23 Georgia Tech opened the weekend battling South Carolina, but dropped a 4-3 decision on Friday afternoon at the Carolina Tennis Complex. The Gamecocks won the doubles point and three singles matches to clinch the win.  

Georgia Tech (2-3) staged a late rally for the doubles point, but couldn’t pull out the early lead as South Carolina (4-1) took two courts. The Gamecocks grabbed the early advantage with a 6-0 win on court three before Tech’s Carol Lee and Kate Sharabura evened the field from court one. The Jackets jumped out with a 4-0 lead over Ayana Akli and Olympe Lancelot before the Gamecocks got on the scoreboard. Lee and Sharabura closed out the win, 6-2, to leave the decision on court two where Kylie Bilchev and Alejandra Cruz faced Misa Malkin and Sarah Hamner. Tech trailed 4-0 early before Bilchev and Cruz rallied back, winning the next three games to setup a 4-3 tally. But Malkin and Hamner snapped the run to pull out a 6-3 win and clinch the doubles point.

South Carolina won the first three singles matches to clinch the match victory. Malkin took court four first, defeating Given Roach, 6-3, 6-2, before Shahar Biran topped Cruz on court three. Biran jumped out with a 5-2 lead in the first set before Cruz moved back to 5-4, but the Gamecock held strong to take the match, 6-4, 6-0.

The Gamecocks clinched the match at 4-0 on court two. Bilchev challenged a top five ranked opponent, trailing early against Hamner, but battled back to 4-all. Knotted at 6-6, Hamner took a 3-1 lead in the tiebreak and pushed her lead out to 7-2 to take the first set, 7-6 (2). Hamner carried momentum into the second set to clinch the match, 7-6 (2), 6-0.

Tech won the last three matches to account for the final 4-3 score. Competing at the top spot, Lee collected a straight-set win over a top-10 ranked opponent in Akli. The two traded games in the first set to a 6-6 standstill before Lee raced out with a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak. Akli fought back to 5-4, but Lee held strong, winning 7-5. The Jacket grabbed a 3-1 lead to open the second set, but Akli didn’t go lightly, rallying back to take a 4-3 advantage. But Lee rattled off the next three games to pocket the match, 7-6 (5), 6-4, to put Tech on the scoreboard.

Sharabura pulled out a win on court six over Lancelot in a super tiebreak. The Jacket controlled the first set, 6-4, but Lancelot fought off match point in the second set to force a tiebreak at 6-6. Lancelot won the breaker, 7-4, to head into a super tiebreak. Sharabura opened with a 3-1 lead and remained steady for an 11-9 victory.

On the last court to finish, Jain rebounded from a doubles loss to top Elise Mills in three sets. After dropping the first set, 6-1, Jain regrouped and took the next two sets, 6-4, 6-3.

Georgia Tech returns home to welcome Northwestern to the Ken Byers Tennis Complex on Sunday.

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