FAYETTEVILLE— The University of Arkansas campus shutdown today due to a snow blizzard but the women’s tennis team brought the heat. In the opening round of play of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Tournament in Fayetteville, No. 18 Arkansas defeated No. 23 Washington 5-2. They will advance to the championship round to go head-to-head with the No. 19 ranked Michigan at 3 p.m., on Saturday.
“Today was a complete team effort,” head coach Michael Hegarty said. “Very strengthening performance so early in the season. Washington has a very solid team and we take a lot of confidence from a strong performance.”
Washington returned everyone from last year’s team that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA Championship.
“I expect them to go deep in the NCAA tournament.” Hegarty said.
Arkansas won the doubles point giving them an early 1-0 advantage. On court three, sophomore Stephanie Roy and Valentine Starkova started the winning streak with an 8-2 victory over Alexsandra Malovic and Lina Xu of Washington. Fellow teammates Kate Lukomskaya and Kelsey Sundaram clinched the doubles point deafeating Samantha Smith and Venise Chan of Washington, 8-2. The tandem of Anouk Tigu and Claudine Paulson nearly captured the win at the No. 1 position but eventually fell to the No. 11 ranked Joyce Ardies and Denise Dy, 8-6.
At the No. 6 position, Claudine Paulson earned the Hogs their first singles victory over Malovic, 6-2, 7-6(6). The Huskies tried to close the gap as No.3 Denise Dy defeated Stephanie Roy, 6-1, 6-1. Kate Lukomskaya opened match play with authority taking the first set 6-0 against Xu at the No. 3 position. Xu did not let up and Lukomskaya was able to finish strong to win the match in the third set, 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-4.
Highlighting the match was rising star freshman Kelsey Sundaram. She fell 6-0 in the first set to Washington’s Samantha Smith, but fought with all heart to comeback to tie the match at a set apiece. In the third set Sundaram overpowered Smith, clinching the match for the Hogs, 0-6, 6-4, 6-1.
On the final court at the No. 1 position, Tigu fought hard tupset Washington’s No. 11 ranked Chan in the third set. The duo continuously exchanged the advantage but Tigu was triumphant winning the match, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.
The consolation round will be held at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center and will feature the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Washington Huskies at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. The Razorbacks will return to the courts against the Michigan Wolverines tomorrow at 3 p.m. for the Championship. The winner of the match will advance to the ITA National Indoor Finals.
Anouk Tigu (UA) def. No. 11 Venise Chan (WU) 6-4, 5-7, 7-5
No. 3 Denise Dy (WU) def. Stephanie Roy (UA) 6-1, 6-1
Kate Lukomskaya (UA) def. Lina Xu 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-4
Joyce Ardies (WU) def. Emily Carbone 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
Kelsey Sundaram (UA) def. Samantha Smith 0-6, 6-4, 6-1
Claudine Paulson (UA) def. Aleksandra Malovic (WU) 6-2, 7-6(6)
No. 11 Ardies/Dy (WU) def. Tigu/Paulson (UA) 8-6
Lukomskaya/Sundaram (UA) def. Smith/Chan (WU) 8-2
Roy/Starkova (UA) def. Malovic/Xu (WU) 8-2
Michigan 4 South Carolina 3
Order of Finish: 3,2*, 1
Dijana Stojiv/Ana Marija Zubori (USC) def. Denise Muresan/Tania Mahtani (UM) 8-7(6)
Whitney Taney/Rika Tatsuno (UM) def. Josefin Andersson/ Madeleine Saari-Bystrom (USC) 8-2
Mimi Nguyen/ Michelle Sulahian (UM) def. Miljana Jocioc/ Anya Morgina (USC) 8-0
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1*
Denise Muresan (UM) def. Ana Marija Zubori (USC) 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-5
Dijana Stojic (USC) def.Rika Tatsuno (UM) 7-5, 6-4
Anya Morgina (USC) def. Tania Mahtani (UM) 7-5, 6-4
Josefin Andersson (USC) def.Whitney Taney (UM)
Mimi Nguyen (UM) def, Madeleine Saari-Bystrom (USC) 6-3, 6-1, 6-3
Michelle Sulahian (UM) def. Miljana Jocioc (USC) 7-5, 6-4, 7-5