FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Clemson advanced to the third round of the Division I Tennis Championships after posting a 4-2 victory at the Billingsley Tennis Center against regional-host Arkansas (18-10) on Sunday. The Tigers (21-10) took a 3-0 lead and never looked back, as sophomore Nelly Ciolkowski posted a comeback, three-set win to clinch the match.
The Tigers advance to the final 16 for the fifth consecutive season, and the seventh in the last eight under head coach Nancy Harris.
“We are very excited to get through a tough Arkansas team on their home court,” said Harris. “They fought the whole match, but I’m very proud of the way our team hung in there.”
Clemson improved to 15-0 this season when claiming the doubles point, as the No. 1 and No. 3 slots claimed victory for the second consecutive day. Sixth-ranked Josipa Bek and Keri Wong quickly dispatched No. 14 Anouk Tigo and Claudine Paulson, 8-2 at one. The duo improved to 30-9 on the season, setting the school mark for wins for a doubles team in a single season.
Bek also won her 36th doubles match of the season, setting a new school mark. Wong won her 35th, tying the former school record, held by Ina Hadziselimovic in 2010.
Caroline Magnusson and Klara Vyskocilova followed with an 8-4 win at flight three over Arkansas’ team of Frampton and Starkova.
The Tigers got strong performances from its heavy hitters, as each of the three players to win holds a national singles ranking. Keri Wong, ranked 48th nationally, wasted little time, posting a 6-3, 6-0 win at flight two over Stephanie Roy.
Wong was the only Tiger to win all four of the matches she has played in the NCAA tournament this season, and appears to be in top form, as she dropped a total of eight games combined in two singles and two doubles matches.
Bek was the next to claim victory, as the nation’s 11th-ranked player downed Arkansas’ Anouk Tigu, 7-5, 6-0, in her final home match. Tigu was ranked 33rd nationally, and Bek improved to 17-9 against ranked players this year, and 32-10 overall.
Arkansas fought back, with Emily Carbone and Claudine Paulson claiming wins at flights five and three, respectively, to pull to within 3-2.
But Ciolkowski, the 2010 ITA Carolina Region Rookie of the Year won the 51st match of her career, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, at flight four to put an end to any Razorback uprising.