FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 17th-ranked Razorback women’s tennis team had multiple opportunities to come away with a good win on Sunday against No. 21 Vanderbilt, but were only able to get two singles wins after winning the doubles point and fell 4-3 at the Billingsley Tennis Center.
After dominating all three doubles matches to take the early 1-0 lead, the Razorbacks (15-8, 5-5 SEC) would see momentum shift back and forth during the singles matches that last nearly four hours. Arkansas did have a 3-2 lead with with two matches left, but both were sent to third set tiebreakers and the Hogs came up short both times, giving Vanderbilt (12-7, 6-4 SEC) the victory.
“Credit goes to Vanderbilt,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “It was an extremely good match by both teams. Obviously, it was as close of a match as you could have and we competed about as good as we have all year. I think that helps us as we get to the most important part of our season. I think this helps us as we head to the postseason because its going to be like this. We want to play our best tennis at the end of the season and we are certainly doing that, Vanderbilt just came up a little bigger today.”
In those doubles matches, the Hogs were in control from start to finish, winning first at court three when freshman Jade Frampton and sophomore Valentina Starkova won their 15th match of the season. Then, the 26th-ranked team of senior Anouk Tigu and sophomore Claudine Paulson finished off the doubles slate with an 8-3 victory over the No. 58 team of Rachael Dillon and Alex Leatu. For the third straight match, the Hogs had the early 1-0 lead going into singles.
Vanderbilt tied things up as they got the win at court two from Jackie Wu over Roy in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, but Paulson got an amazing three set win over 118th-ranked Rachael Dillon, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4, for her 19th win of the season and 13th of the dual season. The Razorbacks now had the 2-1 lead and got an even bigger lead after Tigu defeated 68th-ranked Leatu in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3. The senior from Holland has been on a tear as of late, winning her last four singles matches and is now tied for the team lead in wins at 22.
With their backs against the wall, the Commodores began making their move, getting a win at court three and pulling within 3-2. They pulled even after getting a win at court six over Frampton, who initially had to force a third set after dropping the first. In that third set, Frampton had multiple match points, but could not close things out and allowed Nelly Radeva to take the win, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7).
At the same time, junior Emily Carbone and Keilley Ulery were over at court five in the same situation. A deciding third set that had been taken into a tiebreaker. Carbone had lost the first set, 6-3, but came right back to win the second set, 7-5. After the third set was taken to the tiebreaker, Carbone just couldn’t get any momentum going and that allowed Ulery to earn the win and give Vanderbilt the very solid win, 4-3.
The Razorbacks now have only one match remaining on their regular season schedule. They will face the LSU Tigers this Saturday, April 16 at the Billingsley Tennis Center. That day will also be Senior Day for Anouk Tigu as ceremonies will be held prior to the match. First serve is slated for noon in Fayetteville. For complete coverage of the Razorback women’s tennis team, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com. No. 21 Vanderbilt 4No. 17 Arkansas 3Complete Doubles ResultsOrder of Finish: 3, 1*, 2No. 1 #26 Anouk Tigu/Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. #58 Rachael Dillon/Alexa Leatu (VU) 8-3No. 2 Stephanie Roy/Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) def. Jackie Wu/Lauren Mira (VU) 7-4 ret.No. 3 Jade Frampton/Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Keilley Ulery/Chelsea Preeg (VU) 8-3Complete Singles ResultsOrder of Finish: 2, 4, 1, 3, 6, 5*No. 1 #22 Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. #68 Alex Leatu (VU) 7-5, 6-3No. 2 Jackie Wu (VU) def. Stephanie Roy (ARK) 6-3, 6-4No. 3 #76 Chelsea Preeg (VU) def. Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0No. 4 Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. #118 Rachael Dillon (VU) 6-4, 0-6, 6-4No. 5 Keilley Ulery (VU) def. Emily Carbone (ARK) 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5)No. 6 Nelly Radeva (VU) def. Jade Frampton (ARK) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7)