May 15, 2010

Courtesy of Texas

NORMAN, Okla. - No. 16 Texas (19-5) claimed a tight doubles point and added singles wins from Krista Damico, Caroline Larsson and Vanja Corovic en route to a 4-0 win over No. 24 Arkansas (18-10) Saturday in the round of 32 at the NCAA Championships.

The Longhorns earn a spot in the NCAA round of 16, where they will meet top-seeded Baylor. The Horns and Bears will square off on Thursday, May 20 at 5 p.m. Central at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

Texas opened the match by winning two of three doubles contests to secure the doubles point. Sophomore Amanda Craddock teamed up with Damico to post an 8-5 win at second doubles over Anouk Tigu and Valentina Starkova. Arkansas responded with a win at third doubles, where Claudine Paulson and Stephanie Roy defeated UT's Sarah Lancaster and Larsson by an 8-6 count.

The outcome of the doubles session came down to the No. 1 doubles slot, where Corovic and Aeriel Ellis matched up against the Razorbacks' duo of Kate Lukomskaya and Kelly Sundaram. Corovic and Ellis trailed by a 6-3 count at one point, but the Texas tandem rallied to win six of the next seven games and pulled out the doubles point with a 9-7 win.

Damico made short work of the Razorbacks' Lukomskaya at second singles and emerged with a 6-2, 6-3 win to stretch the Texas lead to 2-0. Larsson trailed by a 4-3 count to Arkansas' Starkova at sixth singles but took the set's last three games to claim the set, 6-4. Larsson cruised to a 6-1 second-set win to stake Texas to a 3-0 lead. At third singles, Texas' Corovic posted a 6-0 opening-set win over Arkansas' Emily Carbone. Corovic and Carbone were tied at three in the second set before Corovic broke free and took the set's final three games to win the set, 6-3 and lock up the match-clinching point for the Longhorns. The remaining matches were suspended.

NCAA Championships - Round of 32
No. 16 Texas 4, No. 24 Arkansas 0
Headington Family Tennis Center - Norman, Okla.
Doubles - Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1

1 #49 Vanja Corovic/Aeriel Ellis (UT) def. Kate Lukomskaya/Kelly Sundaram (UA) - 9-7
2 Amanda Craddock/Krista Damico (UT) def. Anouk Tigu/Valentina Starkova (UA) - 8-5
3 Claudine Paulson/Stephanie Roy (UA) def. Sarah Lancaster/Caroline Larsson (UT) - 8-6

Singles - Order of Finish: 2, 6, 3
1 #24 Aeriel Ellis (UT) vs. #29 Anouk Tigu (UA) - 6-3, 5-6, susp.
2 #63 Krista Damico (UT) def. #125 Kate Lukomskaya (UA) - 6-2, 6-3
3 #75 Vanja Corovic (UT) def. Emily Carbone (UA) - 6-0, 6-3
4 Maggie Mello (UT) vs. Kelly Sundaram (UA) - 6-4, 2-6, 2-2, susp.
5 Sarah Lancaster (UT) vs. Stephanie Roy (UA) - 7-5, 3-1, susp.
6 Caroline Larsson (UT) def. Valentina Starkova (UA) - 6-4, 6-1

POST-MATCH COMMENTS
Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain
On winning the doubles point
"We were down 6-3 at No. 1 doubles, but Aeriel Ellis and Vanja Corovic got it together. They played great tennis and came back to win the match. It was a tense doubles session, and we knew it would be a huge point. We got the win from Amanda Craddock and Krista Damico at No. 2 doubles, and Aeriel and Vanja played great down the stretch to get us the point."

On the singles winners
"Krista was on fire from the very beginning. She did not let up. She played great tennis and was able to exploit her opponent's weaknesses. Caroline Larsson was down 4-3 in the first set and was struggling. Her opponent was playing very well, but Caroline picked up her game about 10 levels and finished strong. Vanja Corovic's match was a grinder . She played a great counter-puncher, and Vanja had to play some good tennis to get out of that one.