FAYETTEVILLE – It came down to the last set of the last singles match on a chilly night at the Billingsley Tennis Center, which left the 14th-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks in the cold, 4-3, against No. 64 Ole Miss.
“The temperature made for difficult conditions today, but both teams played very hard,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty.
The battle between the Southeastern Conference Western Division opponents came down to Court 5 as both teams lined up half a court away cheering for their teammate.
On the center-stage was Arkansas’ Audrey Bordeleau and Ole Miss’ Soledad Podlipnik. Bordeleau took the first set, 7-6(5), while Podlipnik claimed the second set 6-4. With the destiny of the match coming down to the third set, Soledad jumped ahead 3-2 before Bordeleau took control at 4-3. Soledad then rose to the occasion and captured three straight games, 6-4, to win the match for the Lady Rebels (6-13, 2-7 in SEC)
“Audrey [Bordeleau] has come through for this team so many times in her career,” Hegarty said. “She played a heck of a match with all the pressure on her shoulders, but fell just a few inches short this time.”
Ole Miss grabbed early momentum by earning the doubles point.
Maryori Franco and Nanar Airapetian snatched a victory, 8-5, from Laura van der Stroet and Mimi Renaudin for the Lady’Backs (13-7, 6-3 in SEC) only doubles victory on the day.
Airapetian tied the match at 1-1 in a straight-set victory over Preethi Subramanian, 6-4, 6-0. However, Ole Miss quickly regained command when Renaudin dropped Delia Damaschin, 6-3, 6-3.
The nation’s top women’s tennis student-athlete, Aurelija Miseviciute, was too much for Nika Koukhartchouk, 6-1, 7-6(1), tying the match back at 2-2. The Lady’Backs were able to take momentum with their first lead of the day after Franco shot down van der Stroet, 7-6(4), 6-2.
Unfortunately for Arkansas, that would be their last point of the day as No. 99 Karen Nijssen pulled off the upset, 6-1, 7-6(5), over No. 62 Ela Kaluder to tied the match at 3-3.
Even with the loss, Arkansas still only needs one win to clinch the first SEC West title in program history. Be sure to be there on Sunday at 12 p.m. to have a chance to witness history when the Lady’Backs face Mississippi State (7-9, 0-8 in SEC).
For Live stats during Sunday’s match and Lady’Back tennis information visit LADYBACKS.COM.
1. #1 Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) def. Nika Koukhartchouk (UM), 6-1, 7-6(1).
2. #99 Karen Nijssen (UM) def. #62 Ela Kaluder (UA), 6-1, 7-6(5)
3. Maryori Franco (UA) def. Laura van de Stroet (UM), 7-6(4), 6-2.
4. Nanar Airapetian (UA) def. Preethi Subramanian (UM), 6-4, 6-0.
5. Soledad Podlipnik (UM) def. Audrey Bordeleau (UA), 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4.
6. Mimi Renaudin (UM) def. Delia Damaschin (UA), 6-3, 6-3.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish: 4,6,1,3,2,5* )
1. #32 Karen Nijssen/Nika Koukhartchouk(UM) def. #24 Aurelija Miseviciute/Ela Kaluder (UA), 8-2.
2. Maryori Franco/Nanar Airapetian (UA) def. Laura van de Stroet/Mimi Renaudin (UM), 8-5
3. Preethi Subramanian/Soledad Podlipnik (UM) def. Audrey Bordeleau/Anouk Tigu (UA), 8-6.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish:2,1,3* )