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Starkova wins thriller for 4-3 victory

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Starkova wins thriller for 4-3 victory

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 21st-ranked Razorback women’s tennis team had to play shorthanded once again on Sunday afternoon without their top player in senior Anouk Tigu, but came up big in singles to score four wins and secure their second straight win at the Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville.

Sophomore Valentina Starkova was the lone Razorback left on the court after all other singles matches had finished and had to gut out a tough three-set victory over Sandra Dynka, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 to clinch the seventh win for the Hogs (7-1) this season. With the loss, Texas Tech falls to 4-3 on the season and drops their third straight match.

“It felt good to take on a vastly improved Texas Tech team today,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “We battled well on both days of play and turned this weekend into a great step forward for us.”

Leading the day off in doubles, the Razorbacks were not able to put their best foot forward in all three matches. With their top player in Tigu sidelined with an arm injury, Hegarty had to shuffle the doubles lineup a little bit that saw sophomore Claudine Paulson paired with sophomore Kelsey Sundaram for the first time in their careers. Unfortunately, the first-time pairing would not have a good ending as they dropped the match 8-2 to Nikki Sanders and Caroline Starck. The Red Raiders went on to sweep all three doubles matches soon after that to take the important doubles point going into singles.

For the third consecutive match, the Razorbacks found themselves in an early hole after dropping the doubles point, but were hoping to have much of the same result seen on Friday against Tulsa, which was a 4-3 win. Freshman Jade Frampton continued to have a strong weekend, this time at the No. 6 spot when she defeated Lorena Aviles in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, for her third win of the dual season. That victory got the Razorbacks rolling in singles as they won the next two matches to take a commanding 3-1 lead and only leave them one victory away from the team win with three matches remaining.

However, the Red Raiders were not going to go away that easily. After Paulson defeated Samantha Adams in straight sets, for her sixth dual match victory, Texas Tech responded to win at courts one and three in straight sets also. That brought the overall match to 3-3 and the deciding point to come from court five.

Starkova and Dynka were locked in the tightest match of the day which would eventually be the only match on the afternoon to go to three sets. After winning the first set 6-3, Starkova nearly won it in the second set, but Dynka forced the tiebreaker and then took the second set, 7-6(5). After all the matches had finished the match on court five remained and Starkova was able to control the emotions enough to get the 6-4 final set winner. That victory by Starkova was her 13th of the year.

The women’s tennis team will hit the courts again next week when they travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to compete in the ITA National Indoors Championship, which is set to begin on Friday and run through Monday. The draws have yet to be set for the tournament, but be sure to check back with ArkansasRazorbacks.com. for complete coverage of the team’s run through the tournament as well as the rest of the matches throughout the season. Complete Results for No. 69 Texas Tech vs. No. 21 ArkansasNo. 21 Arkansas 4No. 69 Texas Tech 3Complete Doubles ResultsOrder of Finish: 2, 3*, 1No. 1 Kelsy Garland/Samantha Adams (TTU) def. Kate Lukomskaya/Stephanie Roy (ARK) 8-7(6)No. 2 Nikki Sanders/Caroline Starck (TTU) def. Claudine Paulson/Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) 8-2No. 3 Elizabeth Ullathorne/Hayley Fournier (TTU) def. Jade Frampton/Valentina Starkova (ARK) 8-4Complete Singles Results Order of Finish: 6, 4, 2, 1, 3, 5*No. 1 Elizabeth Ullathorne (TTU) def. Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 6-1, 6-2No. 2 Claudine Paulson (ARK) def. Samantha Adams (TTU) 7-6(6), 6-3No. 3 Caroline Starck (TTU) def. Emily Carbone (ARK) 6-4, 6-4No. 4 Stephanie Roy (ARK) def. Kelsy Garland (TTU) 6-4, 6-1No. 5 Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Sandra Dynka (TTU) 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4No. 6 Jade Frampton (ARK) def. Lorena Aviles (TTU) 6-1, 6-3



Sports Category : Tennis (W)