FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas women's tennis team had their home opener Friday night, and were edged by Ohio State 4-3. Arkansas had a strong showing in doubles, and got singles wins from senior Claudine Paulson and freshman Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez.
In doubles, Arkansas dropped the first matchup as the No. 1 duo of Paulson and Segou Jonker fell 8-1. The Razorbacks rallied back with an 8-6 win at No. 3 by the freshman duo of Yang Pang and Brittany Huxley. The doubles point came down to the match at No. 2 doubles, where Arkansas' Sarah McLean and Kimberley - Ann Surin played into a tiebreak, and prevailed 9-8 (3) to clinch the doubles point. The victory represented the seventh time the Razorbacks clinched the doubles point in their first nine matches.
"Doubles continues to be a great first point," Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. "It's getting us off to the start we need."
In singles, Ohio State evened the match at 1, as Surin fell to the Buckeyes' Fidan Manashirova 6-2, 6-2. The match was not even for long, as Paulson quickly put the Razorbacks into the lead. The senior defeated Ohio State's Kara Cecil 6-3, 6-1, and improved her singles record to a team leading 8-1 on the spring season.
The Buckeyes brought the match back even at No. 3 singles. Sophomore Sarah McLean fell to OSU's Gabby Steele 6-3, 6-3 to bring the match to 2-2. At No. 6 singles, freshman Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez finished off a strong performance to put Arkansas ahead. Belmar Hernandez won in straight sets, 7-6 (4), 6-3 to put Arkansas ahead.
The match came down to the final two singles matches, with Pang and Brittany Huxley competing for
Arkansas. Ohio State answered back, winning a three-set match at No. 5 singles. Brittany Huxley fell to Grainne O'Neill 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. The decision evened the match at three-all, to be determined at No. 1 singles between Pang and Dieters. It was a three-set thriller, but Pang fell 6-4, 5-7, 2-6.
"It was definitely a disappointing finish to a well-played match," Hegarty said. "No question Ohio State pulled through in the critical moments a little better than we did."
Arkansas is back in action for their second home match of the spring season on Sunday. The Razorbacks will host Tulsa at 1 p.m.
Ohio State 4 - Arkansas 3
Complete Singles Results
1. No. 53 Kelsey Dieters (OSU) def. Yang Pang (ARK) 6-4, 5-7, 2-6
2. Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. Kara Cecil (OSU) 6-3, 6-1
3. Gabby Steele (OSU) def. Sarah McLean (ARK) 6-3, 6-3
4. No. 93 Fidan Manashirova (OSU) def. Kimberley - Ann Surin (ARK) 6-2, 6-2
5. Grainne O'Neill (OSU) def. Brittany Huxley (ARK) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
6. Ana Lorena Belmar Hernandez (ARK) def. Noelle Malley (OSU) 7-6 (4), 6-3
Complete Doubles Results
1. Kelsey Dieters / Kara Cecil def. Claudine Paulson / Segou Jonker (ARK) 8-1
2. Kimberley - Ann Surin / Sarah McLean (ARK) def. Fidan Manahirova def. Gabby Steele (OSU) 9-8 (3)
3. Yang Pang / Brittany Huxley (ARK) def. Noelle Malley / Grainne O'Neill (OSU) 8-6