STANFORD, Calif. - University of Arkansas senior Anouk Tigu and sophomore Claudine Paulson found out their opponents for the first rounds of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles and Doubles Championship today and will begin competition on Wednesday at the Taube Family Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif.
Tigu is the lone Razorback playing in the singles tournament and will face Petra Niedermayerova of Kansas State in the opening round. Along with Tigu, Paulson will play in the doubles portion and their first round opponent is the team of Sonja Molnar and Jessica Young of Iowa.
This is only the second time that Tigu, the three-time All-SEC honoree, will have competed in the singles tournament and is the first appearance for both her and Paulson in the doubles portion. Last season, Tigu competed in the singles tournament and advanced to the second round after defeating Duke’s Reka Zsilinzska in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2.
“It’s a real thrill to be able to go to the NCAA Individuals in both singles and doubles,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “It’s just a great achievement for both players to be a part of playing on the highest stage out there. Both had great seasons. Anouk (Tigu) in both singles and doubles and Claudine (Paulson) has been a great number one doubles player this year. I expect them to go out and play very well and train well.”
Tigu is currently ranked No. 33 in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and her opponent, Niedermayerova is No. 50 in the nation. Niedermayerova is only a freshman but has had a stellar season for the Wildcats. She was one of the 49 at-large selections for the tournament and finished the season as the Big 12 champion at the number one singles position with a 9-2 conference record.
Tigu comes into the singles tournament with a 25-10 overall record and a 15-7 record in dual play. In her most recent matches in the first two rounds of team portion of the NCAA Tournament, Tigu scored one win against Sacramento State’s Tatsiana Kapshai in straight sets. Even though she lost her second round match to Clemson’s Josipa Bek, Tigu has won seven of her last eight singles matches.
In the doubles portion, Tigu and Paulson have been rock solid for the Razorbacks all season and racked up a 26-11 record overall going into this week. The tandem also has a small winning streak as well, winning six of their last eight matches. Together, they have risen all the way to the No. 14 doubles ranking by ITA.
Their opponents from Iowa, Sonja Molnar and Jessica Young are no pushover, however. The Hawkeye team is ranked 35th in the nation and earned one of the 24 at-large bids for the tournament. Molnar and Young were one of three Big Ten doubles teams to be selected and earned a 13-6 record overall this season and were 6-3 in Big Ten play.
Play will begin for the singles tomorrow and run through the week, while doubles will begin on Thursday. For complete coverage of the two Hogs run through the tournament, stay tuned to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. throughout the week.