FAYETTEVILLE, AR. — The No. 25 Razorback women’s tennis team travels to the University of Georgia today to prepare for the 2010 SEC Tournament in Athens, Ga. Coming off a 5-2 victory last weekend over LSU, the Hogs drew the number seven seed in the tournament and will play the 10th- seeded Auburn Tigers in first round play.
“The team is definitely feeling good going into the tournament,” said head coach Michael Hegarty. “To do well in this tournament is going to be very difficult, but we are well prepared for that and excited about going.”
No. 55 Auburn (9-10, 3-8 SEC) is coming off a 4-3 setback to their rival, Alabama, and was defeated at the hands of the Razorbacks back in Fayetteville on April 2nd, by a score of 6-1. In that match, the Hogs won all three doubles matches and only lost one singles match en route to the victory. It was this victory against Auburn that the Razorbacks gained control of second place in the SEC Western Division, which they held on to for the remainder of the season.
The Tigers are led by three-time All-American and three-time First-Team All-SEC honoree Fani Chifchieva, who holds a singles record of 13-5 overall, and is 7-4 in SEC play. She has also paired with fellow senior Jil Hastenrath to go 12-5 in doubles action.
On the other side of things, the Razorbacks (16-8, 6-5 SEC), are led by junior Anouk Tigu, who is ranked No. 46 in the nation. This season, she has played all of her singles matches at the No. 1 spot and is currently holding a 13-8 record. Leading the way behind Tigu is star-freshman, Kelsey Sundaram, who has a solid 18-5 record, and is 8-2 in SEC play going into the tournament.
In doubles, the Hogs seem to have found a solid combination late in the season in the team of freshmen Claudine Paulson and Valentina Starkova. In all five matches that they have played together, all of which were in conference play, the tandem has recorded an undefeated record coming into the weekend. Also, the doubles team of Sundaram and sophomore Kate Lukomskaya hold a 16-7 record in doubles, winning their last four of five.
“We have remained quite healthy,” said Hegarty. “We’re going to have to play back to back days, which we haven’t done in quite a while, but we have great depth. At this stage in the season, it is only a positive.”
The winner of the opening round matchup will take on second-seeded Ole Miss on the second day of play at 2 p.m. on the Henry Feild Courts. Against Ole Miss earlier this season, the Hogs got off to a slow start after losing the doubles point, but were able to rally back and win five of six singles matches to win by a final score of 5-2.
In last year’s tournament, the Hogs lost to the Rebels in the opening round by a score of 4-3. The Razorbacks will look to have a much different outcome this year, with the first serve set for Thursday’s match at 2 p.m. at the McWhorter Courts on the Georgia campus. For complete live stats and results of the match, be sure to log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Download: 2010 Women’s Standings.pdf