LOS ANGELES – Arkansas women’s tennis fell in a 4-1 decision to Fresno State in the opening round of the 2016 ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Friday.
The setback came without the services of senior Yuliya Lysa. The Razorbacks’ top returner from 2015, Lysa has missed the first two dual matches of the season due to injury.
“Today was a tough match all around, but I was very encouraged by many areas of the day,” Arkansas women’s tennis head coach Michael Hegarty said.
The Razorbacks led off with a 6-2 doubles victory from sophomore Mia Jurasic and freshman Ana Oparenovic on court three. Focus then shifted to courts one and two, where both squad’s battled for the match’s opening point. The Bulldogs picked up a 6-4 win on court one. The battle continued on court two where play would be pushed to a tiebreaker. Despite a valiant effort, Fresno State’s Anneka Watts and Sophie Watts defeated Agne Cepelyte and Shannon Hudson, 7-6 (7-4), to clinch the doubles point.
The Bulldogs built their lead to 3-0 with straight-sets wins on courts two and four. Arkansas senior Makenzie Craft dispatched her opponent 6-2, 6-4 on court three. But the clincher followed on court six as Fresno State’s Anneka Watts defeated Cepelyte 7-5, 6-3. Play was suspended on courts one and five at the clinch. On court one, Fresno State’s Maiar Sherif Ahmed led Hudson 6-3, 4-5 while Sasha Shkorupeieva had battled back against Fresno State’s Emma Wilson to go up 1-6, 6-4, 3-1 on court five.
“Makenzie played lights out all day, and we had many positives across the board,” Hegarty said. “Shannon and Sasha evening their matches after dropping first sets was really big for us.”
Arkansas will play UC Irvine in a consolation match Saturday at 8 p.m. CT.
1. Maiar Sherif Ahmed/Rana Sherif Ahmed (FS) def. Flavia Araujo/Makenzie Craft (ARK) 6-4
2. #58 Anneka Watts/Sophie Watts (FS) def. Agne Cepelyte/Shannon Hudson (ARK) 7-6 (7-4)
3. Ana Oparenovic/Mia Jurasic (ARK) def. Olivia Noble/Sofya Malysheva (FS) 6-2
1. Shannon Hudson (ARK) vs. #26 Maiar Sherif Ahmed (FS) 3-6, 5-4, unfinished
2. Sophie Watts (FS) def. Ana Oparenovic (ARK) 6-4, 6-3
3. Makenzie Craft (ARK) def. Rana Sherif Ahmed (FS) 6-2, 6-4
4. Galina Bykova (FS) def. Mia Jurasic (ARK) 6-0, 6-4
5. Sasha Shkorupeieva (ARK) vs. Emma Wilson (FS) 1-6, 6-4, 3-1, unfinished
6. Anneka Watts (FS) def. Agne Cepelyte (ARK) 7-5, 6-3
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (2,4,3,6)
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