Ranked SEC opponents take two matches from Razorbacks

By Staff Reports
This article was published March 13, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- No. 17 Kentucky and No. 4 Vanderbilt both won matches this weekend against Arkansas at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center.

The Wildcats (10-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) took a competitive doubles point and went on to win three of four finished singles matches Friday night. After Kentucky struck first with a 6-2 win at No. 3 doubles, the Razorbacks' (5-7, 1-2) duo of sophomore Giulia Pairone and senior Mia Jurasic returned the favor with a 6-4 victory at No. 2.

The score at the top spot was tied 5-5, but the Wildcats' No. 40 pair of Mami Adachi and Emily Fanning rallied to pick of the next two games and secure the opening point against Arkansas' No. 30 team of junior Ana Oparenovic and freshman Tatum Rice, of Lakeside. It was Oparenovic and Rice's first setback of the spring, placing their record at 9-1.

In singles, junior Agne Cepelyte was first off the court, besting her opponent 6-3, 6-2. Kentucky won the next three matches at the No. 4, 2, and 5 positions for the overall team victory.

At the clinch, No. 66 Pairone was about to begin a third set after turning in a 6-0 win in the second set. Jurasic was battling in a third set at No. 3.

Despite Arkansas winning the doubles point against Vanderbilt (11-2, 4-0) Sunday and picking up wins over ranked opponents at the top two singles spots, the Commodores earned a close 4-3 SEC win on the road.

Oparenovic and Rice improved to 10-1 with a 6-2 victory at the top doubles spot. Sophomore Giulia Pairone and senior Mia Jurasic secured the opening point by beating Vanderbilt's Fernanda Contreras and Summer Dvorak, 6-3.

The Commodores leveled the match with a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 6 singles. Arkansas reclaimed the lead when No. 87 Oparenovic picked up a 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 27 Christina Rosca. Vanderbilt followed up with consecutive wins at No. 4 and 5 to go up 3-2.

No. 66 Pairone tied the contest when she downed No. 5 Contreras 6-3, 7-6 (4) for the highest-ranked win of her career. With the win, Pairone improved to 9-0 this spring.

The Commodores clinched the overall team victory with a win at the No. 3 spot.

"No question we showed today we can play with anyone in the nation," head coach Michael Hegarty said. "Full credit to Vanderbilt who came up big in the clutch."

Arkansas will be on the road twice this week, heading to Baton Rouge, La., Thursday to face LSU (10-4, 1-3) before a trip to College Station, Texas, Saturday to face Texas A&M (10-4, 1-3).

Sports on 03/13/2018
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