KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 21st-ranked Razorback women’s tennis team travels to Knoxville, Tenn.,Wednesday to prepare for the SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament, which starts on Thursday. The Hogs are coming off a regular season concluding victory over LSU, 4-3, last weekend and with the win clinchedsecond place in the Western Division and the six-seed in the tournament. For their first round matchup, they will take on the 11th-seeded Auburn Tigers at 2 p.m.
“We had a good competitive match with Auburn earlier this season, and I expect a competitive match with them again in the tournament,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “We had a close doubles point there and were able to get it. Once we got the doubles point, we were able to play a really good singles match.”
Arkansas (16-5, 6-5 SEC) has been playingits best tennis as of late, winning three ofits last four matches, one of which was against Auburn. Earlier this season against the Tigers, the Razorbacks cruised to a 6-1 victory on the backs of a doubles sweep and winning five of the six singles matches played that day. It has been doubles that has been the team’s strength during in the final month of the season as they have won four straight doubles points heading into the tournament.
Individually for the Hogs senior Anouk Tigu has caught fire in the month of April, winning her last five singles matches to remain undefeated this month. In those five matches, Tigu has had only one go into a third set. The Holland native leads the team in total wins for the year (23) and is 13-6 in the dual season.
Not far behind Tigu are a couple of Hogs, who have quietly been compiling wins at a rapid pace as well. Junior Stephanie Roy and freshman Jade Frampton have each won 22 matches overall this season and each have at least 13 wins in the dual season. The majority of the wins for Frampton have come at the No. 6 position, while Roy has split time at the Nos. 2-5 spots this season. As of late, Roy has been playing at the No. 2 spot and has a 3-2 record going into the weekend.
In doubles, the team is led by Tigu and sophomore Claudine Paulson, who together make one of the top doubles team in the nation. The duo is ranked No. 19 in the nation by the most recent poll by ITA and have the numbers to go along with that high ranking. A 24-9 overall record along with a 17-6 dual record show exactly why doubles has been a strength for the Hogs late this season. Tigu and Paulson are also riding a four-match winning streak into the conference tournament, one being against the same Auburn team they will face on Thursday.
“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” said Hegarty. “Health is excellent and its the best its been all spring. The energy is good and thats a real good combination this time of the year because its just sudden death in the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament. We feel good about that and excited about our prospects.”
On the other side of the net, Auburn brings a 5-17 overall record and a 1-10 conference record into the tournament. In their last match, the Tigers fell 7-0 to rival Alabama, losing all three doubles and all six singles matches.
In last year’s SEC Tournament, the Razorbacks, again, faced Auburn in the first round and cruised to a 4-0 victory. They then played the two-see in Ole Miss and, unfortunately, came up just short by a score of 4-2 and were eliminated.
First serve for Thursday’s match is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the winner of the match will move on to face fourth-seeded Georgia on Friday, also at 2 p.m. Live stats as well as the live blog will be available for each match that the Razorbacks play in. For complete coverage of the Hogs run through the postseason, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: 2011 W tennis draw.pdf