STARKVILLE, Miss. – Not even strong winds could hold back the 14th-ranked University of Arkansas women’s tennis team to claim at least a chare of the Southeastern Conference Western Division after dropping No. 67 Mississippi State on Friday, 4-0.
Sophomore Anouk Tigu propelled the Razorbacks (11-6, 6-3) to their second-consecutive SEC West title after her match-clincher on Court 2 over Olesya Tsigvintseva, 6-3, 6-2. Ranked No. 71 in singles, Tigu’s victory marks her 25th for the 2008-2009 season.
“I was really pleased with our hustle and composure out there today,” said Razorback head coach Michael Hegarty. “In my fifteen years in the league, I have rarely seen worse conditions for SEC tennis.”
The win is not only two-straight division titles for Arkanasas, but also only their second in program history.
With a win in Sunday’s noon match against No. 28 Ole Miss, the Razorbacks can earn the outright SEC West title.
The Hogs started off the match in the right direction with a clean sweep of doubles play. Aurelija Miseviciute and Ela Kaluder, ranked No. 62, defeated Olesva Tsigvintseva and Natalia Mayuk, 8-4, for their 20th win of the season. The freshmen duo of Emily Carbone and Kate Lukomskaya improved their conference record to 5-2 after clinching the point over Radka Ferancova and Daniela Juskova, 8-6. On Court 1, 29th-ranked Nanar Airapetian and Tigu finished the sweep, 8-6, over Martina Banikova and Elna de Villers.
“The doubles point was touch-and-go, and from there we were able to take command in singles in some very difficult conditions,” Hegarty said,
Two seniors gave Arkansas the early lead to cling on to in singles. Kaluder got back into the win column, 6-2, 6-2, over Ferancova, while Airapetian dropped Valeriya Makarycheva, 6-4, 6-1.
After the clinching point was earned, all other singles matches were halted. The Razorbacks led on all other courts.
Singles1.#5 Aurelija Miseviciute (Ark) led Martina Banikova (MSU), 6-1, 3-3.2. #71 Anouk Tigu (Ark) def. Olesya Tsigvintseva (MSU), 6-3, 6-2.3. Ela Kaluder (Ark) def. Radka Ferancova (MSU), 6-2, 6-2.4. Emily Carbone (Ark) led Elna de Villers (MSU), 6-0, 4-3.5. Nanar Airapetian (Ark) def. Valeriya Makarycheva (MSU), 6-4, 6-1.6. Kate Lukomskaya (Ark) led Natalia Mayuk (MSU), 6-3, 4-1.
Order of Finish: (3,5,2*)
Doubles1.#29 Nanar Airapetian/Anouk Tigu (Ark) def. Martina Banikova/Elna de Villers (MSU), 8-6.2. #62 Aurelija Miseviciute/Ela Kaluder (Ark) def. Olesva Tsigvintseva/Natalia Mayuk (MSU), 8-4.3. Emily Carbone/Kate Lukomskaya (Ark) def. Radka Ferancova/Daniela Juskova (MSU), 8-6.
Order of Finish: (2,3*,1)