TULSA, Okla. — The University of Arkansas women’s tennis team will be competing this weekend at the ITA Central Regional Championships in Tulsa, Okla. on the campus of the University of Tulsa. This is the second tournament of the fall for the Razorbacks and the first since the Buff Invite in late September. Four of the six players on roster for Arkansas will be suiting up this weekend and all four are returning players from a year ago.
The tournament serves as a region individual championship and also as a qualifier for the USTA/ITA National Indoors Championships, which will be held Nov. 3-6 in Charlottesville, Va.
Seniors Emily Carbone, Stephanie Roy, Kate Lukomskaya and junior Claudine Paulson will be the student-athletes in action starting on Friday and will each also be part of a doubles team that will compete as well for a spot at nationals.
“We’re very excited about the Central Regional,” Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. “We had some good success in this tournament last year, winning the singles title and finishing runner-up in the doubles title. Over the year’s we’ve always played well in this tournament and I’m looking forward to seeing how our players do this year.”
Arkansas is looking to continue the winning trend at the regional from past years. Last year, Anouk Tigu clinched the singles title with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 victory over Minnesota’s Natalia Pintusava. She, along with Claudine Paulson also advanced to the doubles final, but was ousted 8-5 by Oklahoma’s Ana-Maria Constantinescu and Alice Radu.
Paulson will try her hand again in the doubles this year, but with a different partner in Lukomskaya, who are ranked as the No. 25 team in the nation. The two have already secured one title under their belt this fall after winning the doubles draw at the Buff Invite last month with an 8-5 win against Colorado’s Carla Manzi-Tenorio and Kristina Schleich. The duo carries a three-match win streak into the regional weekend.
Carbone and Roy will be the other team competing in the doubles draw for the Hogs and are fresh off a 2-1 weekend at the Buff Invite. Last year in the Central Regional, the team advanced to the semi-finals, but ended up losing to the eventual champion.
“After getting Stephanie (Roy) and Emily (Carbone) to the semi-finals of doubles last year, I’m looking for them to go a little further,” Hegarty said. “With Kate (Lukomskaya) and Claudine (Paulson), being ranked nationally, makes them the top seed in the tournament. Just altogether in doubles, we’re expecting a real strong showing and in singles, this is the first time we haven’t had someone ranked in the top four in quite a few years, so I’m looking for someone to break through.”
Paulson holds the best singles record so far in the early going of the fall at 3-1, but the remaining three players are right behind her at 2-1 and will look to build on those records this weekend.
Including Arkansas, players from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas State, Saint Louis, Minnesota and Oral Roberts are among the teams that will be competing this weekend. The qualifying rounds are taking place today, but do not feature any Razorback players. Upon the completion of qualifying, the main draw will be set. Full recaps as well as results will be posted online following each day’s play.