FAYETTEVILLE — The 22nd-ranked Razorback women’s tennis team got a huge victory on Friday against the No. 50 Auburn Tigers, 6-1, breaking their three-match losing streak and taking sole control of second place in the SEC Western Division. Arkansas took advantage of early miscues by Auburn in doubles to win the first point of the match and took that dominant play over into singles for their third conference victory of the season.
“I’m definitely pleased with our all-around performance today,” said head coach Michael Hegarty. “Doubles was the best it has been in a while, and I hope we can use that to our advantage as we go through the final matches of the season.”
The Razorbacks (13-7, 3-4) took control of the match from the very first serve in doubles, getting a quick win at court three from the tandem of freshmen Claudine Paulson and Valentina Starkova over Carolina Thornton and Plamena Kurteva, 8-1. The Hogs didn’t waste much time to get the second doubles win after that, getting a clinching victory at the No. 2 spot from sophomore Kate Lukomskaya and freshman Kelsey Sundaram over Myrthe Molenveld and Paulina Schippers, 8-3. After the doubles point was already won, the duo of junior Anouk Tigu and sophomore Stephanie Roy took their match to a tiebreaker and eventually won over Fani Chifchieva and Jill Hastenrath, 8-7 (7).
As singles play got underway, Arkansas picked up right where they left off starting at the No. 5 position, where Sundaram scored her fourteenth win of the spring in a quick straight set victory over Thornton, 6-1, 6-1. With their team now in the drivers seat, Arkansas got a great match from Paulson, who was down 3-1 in the first set, but battled back to win five consecutive points and take the first set victory. She then took that momentum into set number two and dropped her counterpart from Auburn, 6-3, 6-2, good for her eleventh victory of the spring.
The Hogs were now just one point away from winning their third conference victory and got just what they needed from the newly ranked sophomore, Kate Lukomskaya. Lukomskaya, who last week was ranked for the first time in her career by ITA in singles, lived up to her ranking and won the clinching straight set match at court two over Daniela Vukadinovic, 6-2, 6-4, giving the Razorbacks the win.
In the remaining singles action, Arkansas continued its dominance at courts one and four, scoring wins for No. 65 Tigu over No. 54 Chifchieva, 6-4, 6-4, and Roy over Hastenrath, 6-4, 6-1. At court three, sophomore Emily Carbone battled back after losing the first set against Molenveld to take her match to a deciding third set. Unfortunately, since the overall team match was already decided, a tiebreak was played for the third set, which Carbone dropped, 1-0 (5).
The Razorbacks now set their sights on the Alabama Crimson Tide for their final home match of the spring. The match will be played at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center and is set to begin promptly at noon. For live results of that match and complete coverage of Razorback women’s tennis, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.Complete ResultsNo. 22 Arkansas 6No. 50 Auburn 1Doubles Order of Finish: 3, 2*, 1No. 1 Anouk Tigu/Stephanie Roy (ARK) def. Fani Chifchieva/Jill Hastenrath (AU) 8-7 (7)No. 2 Kate Lukomskaya/Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) def. Myrthe Molenveld/Paulina Schippers (AU) 8-3No. 3 Claudine Paulson/Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Caroline Thornton/Plamena Kurteva (AU) 8-1Singles Order of Finish: 5, 6, 2*, 3, 1, 4No. 1 #65 Anouk Tigu (ARK) def. #54 Fani Chifchieva (AU) 6-4, 6-4No. 2 #115 Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) def. Daniela Vukadinovic (AU) 6-2, 6-4No. 3 Myrthe Molenveld (AU) def. Emily Carbone (ARK) 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (5)No. 4 Stephanie Roy (ARK) def. Jill Hastenrath (AU) 6-4, 6-1No. 5 Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) def. Caroline Thornton (AU) 6-1, 6-1No. 6 Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. Paulina Schippers (AU) 6-3, 6-2