TULSA, Okla. – With the 17th-ranked University of Arkansas ahead 3-2 in the match, freshman Anouk Tigu aced No. 103 Monika Dancevic for a three-set victory, vaulting the Lady Razorbacks to a huge, 4-2, upset over No. 2 Georgia Thursday and into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s just spectacular to be in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history,” said Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty. “We have a truly great team and an incredible staff.”
While the Lady’Backs (18-9) made school history by punching a ticket into the final eight teams, they also made NCAA Tournament history as the first women’s team to upset a No. 2 seed since seeding in the tournament began in 1999.
Arkansas will hope to travel along the winning road again on Saturday at 4 p.m. against No. 7 UCLA.
Tigu’s three-set victory, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, over Dancevic was not only special to her teammates and coaches but to herself as well.
“I have lost so many close three-set matches this season and to finally win one against a great athlete like Monika [Dancevic] today was awesome,” said Tigu. “It definitely ranks as one of the top matches of my tennis career, and to make history at Arkansas is a great feeling.”
For the fifth-straight match, early momentum was obtained by Arkansas thanks to the doubles point. All three courts were intensely close, but hard play gained them the point. Audrey Bordeleu and Tigu shot down Adrienne Elsberry and Dancevic, 8-6, while Maryori Franco and Nanar Airapetian came through over Naokoa Ueshima and Cameron Ellis, 8-6, for the clincher.
Another freshman, Delia Damaschin, impressed on Thursday when she made quick work of Elsberry, 6-3, 6-2, rocketing the Lady’Backs a head 2-0 and opening the eyes of many on watchers.
Aurelija Miseviciute, the top-ranked singles player in women’s NCAA tennis, illustrated leadership in her victory on Court 1 over No. 39 Y. Hyndman, 6-2, 7-6(1), for an overwhelming 3-0 lead. Her win not only extended the Arkansas lead, but also gave her the all-time school record with her 48th win of the season, passing Marcus Hilpert.
“Yvette [Hyndman] is a great competitor and I really expected a lot closer match against her today,” said Miseviciute. “She came back in the second set, but I was able to buckle down and give us a three-point lead.”
After falling in a quick hole, the Bulldogs (22-5) grabbed two points within minutes of each other to cut into the lead, 3-2. Ueshima overtook Franco, 7-5, 6-3, while Ellis toppled Airapetian, 7-6(5), 6-1. However, Arkansas was just too much in their third match this season against Georgia, as Tigu earned the fourth point for the clincher.
UCLA shutout No. 10 Southern California, 4-0, setting up their second match of the season against Arkansas on Saturday.
“They beat us 4-3 at the ITA Indoor Championships back in February, but we had chances to win,” Hegarty said. “They are a well-balanced team and are incredibly coached.”
Visit LADYBACKS.COM for live stats and video for Saturday’s match.
#17 Arkansas- 4
#2 Georgia- 2
1. #1 Aurelija Miseviciute (UA) def. #39 Yvette Hyndman (UGA), 6-2, 7-6(1).
2. #58 Kelley Hyndman (UGA) led. #73 Ela Kaluder (UA), 7-6(4), 3-4.
3. Anouk Tigu (UA) def. #103 Monika Dancevic (UGA), 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.
4. #83 Naoko Ueshima (UGA) def. Maryori Franco (UA), 7-5, 6-3.
5. Cameron Ellis (UGA) def. Nanar Airapetian (UA), 7-6(5), 6-1.
6. Delia Damaschin (UA) def. Adrienne Elsberry (UGA), 6-3, 6-2.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish: 6,1,4,5,3*)
1. #52 Kelley Hyndman/Yvette Hyndman (UGA) def. #29 Aurelija Miseviciute/Ela Kaluder, 8-5.
2. Maryori Franco/Nanar Airapetian (UA) def. Naoka Ueshima/Cameron Ellis (UGA), 8-6.
3. Audrey Bordeleau/Anouk Tigu (UA) def. Adrienne Elsberry/Monika Dancevic (UGA), 8-6.
Match Notes: (Order of Finish: 3,1,2*)