FAYETTEVILLE — After winning an amazing doubles point, the No. 20-ranked Razorbacks took care of the Oklahoma Sooners in singles play to gain the regional victory, 6-1, at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center on Sunday. This was the first loss of the season for Oklahoma and the Razorbacks‘ fourth straight win heading into conference play.
“I was really happy to play such a good match against such a strong team,” said head coach Michael Hegarty. “We certainly got better today and that is key at this stage in the season.”
Arkansas (10-2), came into this match on a three match winning streak and was looking to continue that momentum with the start of conference play next week. Oklahoma, on the other side, came into this match undefeated at 7-0 and was looking to continue their dominance of non-conference play.
The excitement started early in doubles play as the Razorbacks won the first doubles match at the No. 2 spot with sophomore Kate Lukomskaya and freshman Kelsey Sundaram easily defeating the team of Maria Kalashnikova and Tara Eckel, 8-0. The Hogs then dropped a back-and-forth battle at the No. 3 position, before it came down the No. 1 doubles match to decide which team would win the important doubles point.
After trading games throughout the match, the Arkansas team of Anouk Tigu and Claudine Paulson found themselves in a favorable position with an 8-7 lead and match point. Both the Hogs and Sooners went through an extensive rally before Paulson smashed a return past the No. 29 doubles team of Ana-Maria Constantinescu and Teona Tsertsvadze, giving Arkansas the 9-7 victory and the doubles point.
Moving into singles play, the Hogs seemed to take the momentum from the doubles matches over into singles and jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after getting wins from sophomores Stephanie Roy and Kate Lukomskaya. The clincher was won at the No. 4 position, after sophomore Emily Carbone defeated Kalashnikova, 6-4, 6-2, in straight sets.
The final match of the day was played between the two ranked singles players of No. 62 Tigu and No. 76 Constantinescu. Both players fought hard throughout the match, but Tigu was able to win tie-breakers in two striaght sets to get the win, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6), her third straight win.
The Razorbacks now move their sights to their first conference matches of the season against No. 9 Florida on Friday, March 5th and No. 38 South Carolina on March 7th. The match against Florida will definitely be the Razorbacks‘ toughest test to date and highest ranked opponent of the season. The Florida match is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and complete results of that match will be posted on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.No. 20 Arkansas 6No. 35 Oklahoma 1Doubles ResultsOrder of Finish: 2, 3, 1*No. 1 Anouk Tigu/Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. Ana-Maria Constantinescu/Teona Tsertsvadze (OU) 9-7No. 2 Kate Lukomskaya/Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) def. Maria Kalashnikova/Tara Eckel (OU) 8-0No. 3 Katelyn Connelly/Marie-Pier Huet (OU) def. Stephanie Roy/Valentina Starkova (ARK) 9-7Singles Results Order of Finish: 4, 2, 3*, 6, 5, 1No. 1 Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. Ana-Maria Constantinescu (OU) 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6)No. 2 Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) def. Marie-Pier Huet (OU) 6-1, 6-2No. 3 Emily Carbone (ARK) def. Maria Kalashnikova (OU) 6-4, 6-2No. 4 Stephanie Roy (ARK) def. Teona Tsertsvadze (OU) 6-0, 6-2No. 5 Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) def. Kristina Radan (OU) 6-0, 6-4No. 6 Tara Eckel (OU) def. Claudine Paulson (ARK) 6-4, 6-1