NORMAN, OKLA. — The No. 24 Razorback women’s tennis team defeated No. 42 Oklahoma, 4-2, in their opening round match of the 2010 NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament on Friday. With the win, the Hogs now advance to the second round of the tournament where they will play the number one seed of the Norman regional, No. 16 Texas. If the Razorbacks win, they will advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight time.
“It wasn’t the prettiest match we’ve ever played,” said head coach Michael Hegarty, “but it was a good match where we played well against a tough team that had a great crowd behind them the whole time.”
Early on in doubles it was Oklahoma (18-7) that took the early advantage at court three as the team of Marie-Pier Huet and Kristina Radan defeated freshman Claudine Paulson and sophomore Stephanie Roy, 8-3. Arkansas (18-9) was able to answer back at the number one doubles spot when the team of sophomore Kate Lukomskaya and freshman Kelsey Sundaram won a close match against Ana-Maria Constantinescu and Teona Tsertsvadze, 9-7. With the win, Lukomskaya and Sundaram notched another for the win column and extended their record to 17-9 this season.
The doubles point came down to the number two spot where junior Anouk Tigu and freshman Valentina Starkova were in a heated battle with Tara Eckel and Maria Kalashnikova of Oklahoma. After trading points back and forth, the two teams went to a tiebreaker. It was in the tiebreaker that Tigu and Starkova took over and won the tiebreaker set, 7-3, good for a 9-8 match victory and a team doubles point, giving the Razorbacks a solid 1-0 lead heading into singles.
In singles, it was the Hogs that struck first this time as Starkova won at the number six spot in shutout fashion, 6-0, 6-0, over Eckel. However, the Sooners were not willing to go down without a fight as Huet defeated Lukomskaya at court two in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, leaving Arkansas only leading by one with four singles matches remaining.
The Razorbacks responded right back at court four, getting a huge win from Sundaram, 6-4, 6-3, over Tsertsvadze, keeping the Hogs just one point away now from advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma made a match out of it at court five as Roy fell to Radan 6-4, 6-3, making the team score now 3-2 with two matches left.
The No. 1 and No. 3 singles matches remained on the slate for the day’s action as both Hogs, Tigu and sophomore Emily Carbone took their matches to third sets after losing the first set. Luckily for the Razorbacks, they didn’t have to wait long to see how their fate would turn out as Carbone took care of business at court three, defeating Maria Kalashnikova, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, good for her twelfth victory of the spring.
“This team showed a lot of resiliency today,” said Hegarty. “They turned it around when they needed too and got clutch play from the leaders on this team when they needed it.”
The Hogs now move on to face the Texas Longhorns in the second round of the tournament, a rivalry that dates back to the old Southwestern Conference days. Unfortunately for the Hogs, they have never defeated the Longhorns in seventeen matches dating back to the 81-82 season, but will look to change that streak in a big way as they go for their third straight appearance in the Sweet 16.
First serve for tomorrow’s match is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Headington Family Tennis Center on the University of Oklahoma campus. For complete coverage of tomorrow’s match, be sure to log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.No. 24 Arkansas 4No. 42 Oklahoma 2 Doubles ResultsOrder of Finish: 3, 1, 2*No. 1 Kate Lukomskaya/Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) def. No. 41 Ana-Maria Constantinescu/Teona Tsertsvadze (OU) 9-7No. 2 Anouk Tigu/Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Tara Eckel/Maria Kalashnikova (OU) 9-8 (3)No. 3 Marie-Pier Huet/Kristina Radan (OU) def. Claudine Paulson/Stephanie Roy (ARK) 8-3Singles ResultsOrder of Finish: 6, 2, 4, 5, 3*No. 1 No. 29 Anouk Tigu (ARK) leading No. 106 Ana-Maria Constantinescu (OU) 7-5, 3-6, 3-2No. 2 Marie-Pier Huet (OU) def. No. 125 Kate Lukomskaya (ARK) 6-3, 6-1No. 3 Emily Carbone (ARK) def. Maria Kalashnikova (OU) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2No. 4 Kelsey Sundaram (ARK) def. Teona Tsertsvadze (OU) 6-4, 6-3No. 5 Kristina Radan (OU) def. Stephanie Roy (ARK) 6-4, 6-3No. 6 Valentina Starkova (ARK) def. Tara Eckel (OU) 6-0, 6-0