LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Ole Miss advance
Match 3: LSU 4, Mississippi State 3
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Freshman Eden Richardson won the final two sets on court one to cap off an incredible 4-3 comeback victory as the No. 39 LSU women's tennis team defeated No. 30 Mississippi State to advance to its fifth-straight SEC Tournament quarterfinals at the Barksdale Stadium Thursday morning.
LSU improved to 15-9 on the season with the win and will face No. 9 Florida, the tournament's second overall seed, Friday at 9 a.m. CT. Mississippi State fell to 15-10 with the loss.
The Bulldogs got the match started by taking the doubles point with a pair of wins on courts one and three. The No. 72 pairing of Madison Harrison and Khrystyna Vozniak defeated LSU's top pairing of Richardson and Jessica Golovin, ranked No. 32 in the country, by a score of 6-2 on court one and Anastasia Rentouli and Sara Lizariturry defeated Luba Vasilyuk and Ashton Rabalais on court three, 6-1.
Vozniak and Rentouli picked up two more points for Mississippi State in singles competition on courts six and four, respectively, and the Bulldogs led LSU 3-0 before the Tigers' comeback was set in motion.
Golovin, ranked No 78 in the country, blew past Magda Adaloglou in straight sets for the second time this season, 6-1, 6-3, on court three to put the score at 3-1. Golovin has won five of her last six matches and picked up her team-leading 18th dual singles win this season with the win over Adaloglou.
Vasilyuk followed closely behind with a 6-2, 6-1 takedown of Sara Lizsariturry, also for the second time this season, pulling the Tigers to within one point of Mississippi State with two courts remaining. The freshman's gutsy performance on court five was monumental in propelling the momentum in LSU's favor despite the frigid temperatures and windy conditions on the outdoor courts.
Senior captain Ryann Foster tied the score at three points apiece with a 6-4, 6-0 victory against Janina Braun on court two, improving to 11-5 this dual season and picking up win No. 71 for her Tiger career.
After dropping her first set, 6-3, Richardson flipped a switch and overpowered Harrison in the second set, 6-2, and carried her momentum into the third set, which she won 6-2 to clinch the match. The three-time SEC Freshman of the Week improved to 27-4 this season and 17-1 in dual singles. Richardson also ran her current win streak to 15-straight matches with the victory and has not lost a singles match since January.
Match 4: Arkansas 4, Auburn 2
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Arkansas earned the doubles point with ease and then added three timely singles wins, including the clincher from freshman Tatum Rice at No. 5 to defeat No. 19 ranked Auburn on Thursday in the second round of the 2018 Southeastern Conference Women's Tennis Tournament at the Dr. Robert L. Barksdale Tennis Stadium.
With the win, the No. 11 seed Razorbacks (9-15, 3-10 SEC) advanced to the tournament's third round and will play No. 7 ranked and No. 3 seed South Carolina at 11 a.m. CT Friday.
"It's just fantastic to see our players continue to grow and compete so hard in this part of the season," Razorbacks head coach Michael Hegarty said. "Every time we play Auburn it seems to go down to the wire and this was such a clutch performance by the whole team."
Arkansas led the Tigers (20-10, 8-5 SEC) 3-2 with the match in the hands of Rice at No. 5 and sophomore Jackie Carr at No. 6.
Rice, the Hot Springs, Arkansas, native, saved seven match points before finally earning the dramatic win 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) over Auburn's Taylor Russo, which lifted the Razorbacks to their fourth victory over Auburn in the last six tries. Rice lost the first set, bounced back in the second set, trailed 6-5 in the third and was down two match points at 40-15 before getting the points she needed to force the tiebreaker. Down 6-2 in the tiebreaker, she went on a six-point run to capture the victory.
"Tatum let two match points slip in yesterday's match, but today, all she needed was one," Hegarty said.
Thursday's match marked the fourth consecutive 4-2 or 4-3 decision over the last two seasons between the Razorbacks and Tigers.
Other Razorbacks who contributed victories Thursday were sophomore No. 50 Giulia Pairone at the top spot, who improved to 13-5 this spring, and junior No. 89 Ana Oparenovic at No. 2.
The tandem of junior Agne Cepelyte and sophomore Natsuho Arakawa clinched the doubles point at No. 3 after No. 40 Oparenovic and Rice scored a win at the top spot to better their spring record to 13-5.
Match 5 - Texas A&M 4, Kentucky 3
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -Texas A&M freshman Iulia Ivascu won the last match standing to lift Texas A&M to a 4-3 victory over 24th-ranked Kentucky in the second round of the SEC Women's Tennis Tournament today at Barksdale Tennis Stadium.
The Aggies, the No. 9 seed in the 14-team tournament, improve to 16-9 overall and advance to the quarterfinals to face SEC regular-season champion and No. 2-ranked Vanderbilt on Friday at 3 p.m. (2 p.m. CT). Kentucky, which had posted a 4-1 regular-season home victory over Texas A&M on April 7 in Lexington and was the No. 8 seed, falls to 14-10.
The teams split the first two doubles matches to be completed as Ivascu and freshman partner Riley McQuaid raced to a 6-1 victory over Diana Tkachenko and Brianna Tulloch at the No. 3 line. Kentucky's Mami Adachi and Justina Mikulskyte had jumped out to a 5-0 lead over A&M's Tatiana Makarova and Macarena Olivares at No. 2 but the Aggie duo made a late charge and got within 5-4 before the Wildcats won a no-ad point to win, 6-4.
The point came down to the No. 1 line, where A&M missed an opportunity to take the doubles point. The Aggies' 59th-ranked Domenica Gonzalez and Eva Paalma had won a no-ad point to go up, 5-4, against Emily Fanning and Lesedi Jacobs. In the following game, the A&M pair was at triple match point, but Kentucky evened the game at 40-40 and then won the no-ad point to even the match, 5-5. Kentucky broke the Aggies' serve to go up, 6-5, and then won a no-ad point to win the match, 7-5, to give the Wildcats the 1-0 lead.
McQuaid evened the team score at the start of singles, breaking away from a 3-3 tie in each set to defeat Tkachenko, 6-3, 6-3, at the No. 4 line.
Adachi put the Wildcats back on top, 2-1, after downing Paalma, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 3. In a matchup of ranked contestants, No. 76 Olivares evened the team score, 2-2, with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 118th-ranked Mikulskyte at No. 2. It was the seventh win-including the fourth ranked win-in the last eight decisions for Olivares, who improved to 28-10 overall.
Gonzalez gave A&M its first lead, 3-2, getting a service break to cap each set in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Fanning at the No. 1 line. Jacobs tied the score for the final time with a come-from-behind 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Makarova at No. 5.
Ivascu and Tulloch were knotted at 5-5 in the second set at the No. 6 line as Jacobs tied the team score. Ivascu had won the first set, 7-5, and was serving for the match with a 6-5 lead in the second set. Tulloch, however, broke Ivascu to force a tiebreaker in which neither player built more than a two-point lead. Ivascu fought off four set points and was at match point, 10-9, after Tulloch was overruled and received a point penalty. Tulloch, however, scored the next two points to regain the lead, 11-10. Ivascu fought off another set point to tie the score, 11-11, before Tulloch won the next two points to win the set and force a third set.
Both players struggled with their serve in the final set, and other than the first two games, neither side was able to hold serve until Ivascu held to go up, 6-5. The Romanian built a 40-15 lead in the ensuing game, and Tulloch double-faulted at match point to give the win to Ivascu.
Texas A&M, which was facing Kentucky for the first time in an SEC Tournament match, improves to 5-5 all-time in the tournament and advances to the quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years in the league. The Aggies, who also will be facing the Commodores for the first time in the postseason event, fell to Vanderbilt, 4-0, in Nashville, when the teams met on April 5.
The winner of the Texas A&M-Vanderbilt match advances to face the winner between No. 4 seed Georgia and No. 5 seed Ole Miss in the semifinals at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. CT) on Saturday.
Match 6 - Ole Miss 4, Tennessee 2KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Upsets were the story of the day on Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament, but the No. 5 seed and No. 6 ranked Ole Miss women's tennis team avoided that with a 4-2 win against the host, Tennessee, at the Barksdale Tennis Stadium.
The Rebels advanced to the quarterfinals where they will face the No. 4 seed and No. 8 ranked Georgia Friday at 5 p.m. CT.
With the previous match going down to the wire, Ole Miss and Tennessee got a late start, but the Rebels took the early momentum getting the doubles point with wins on courts three and one. After Tennessee won 6-3 on court two, Natalie Suk and Anna Vrbenska won 6-4 on court three for their eighth straight win. Arianne Hartono and Alexa Bortles finished off a 6-3 win on court one to clinch the point.
The Rebels won four first sets in singles including two tiebreakers, to maintain momentum, and then Sabina Machalova made it 2-0 with an impressive 6-0, 6-2 win against Elizabeth Profit at No. 2 singles.
Tennessee answered with a straight set win on court five, but then Tea Jandric finished off Ariadna Riley 6-0, 6-4 on court three to give the Rebels a 3-1 lead. The Lady Vols pulled to within one (3-2) with a three-set win on court four.
That left Hartono and sophomore Tereza Janatova on courts one and six to get the final point for the Rebels. Both won first set tiebreakers, but Hartono dropped her second set. She led the final set 3-0 before Janatova closed out UT's Johanna Silva 7-6(6), 6-4 on court six to clinch the win.