COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 21, 2014 - Univ. of SC, SID) — Senior Dominika Kanakova and junior Elixane Lechemia from the South Carolina women's tennis team begin play in the 32-team NCAA Doubles Championship on Thursday in Athens, Ga., at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The No. 26-ranked duo in the nation will take on No. 5 Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar of Duke in the first round.
South Carolina's top duo is currently ranked 26th and owns a record of 10-5 that included a 7-4 mark in SEC matches at No. 1 doubles. Kanakova and Lechemia tied a school record by winning seven SEC matches at the top spot. In the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament against Alabama, Lechemia and Kanakova posted an 8-4 victory against Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe, currently the No. 4-ranked team in the nation.
The Gamecock duo also faced Capra and Mar previously this season in the second round of the NCAA team tournament and lost 8-2 in Durham, N.C.
South Carolina has placed a singles competitor or doubles team in 26 of 33 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
Laura Bernstein is the only Gamecock to advance to the round of 16 in singles, doing so in 1983. In doubles, Helen Crook and Victoria Davies are the only South Carolina duo to go as far as the semifinals, which happened in 1994.
Kanakova qualified for the doubles tournament last year as well with Jaklin Alawi and is now the first Gamecock since 2002 to compete in back-to-back NCAA Doubles Championships.
Photos by Burton Fowles,