Women’s Tennis Central: Tennessee at # 13 Auburn, Alabama

Geared up for the final weekend of the regular season before the SEC Tournament, the Tennessee women’s tennis team travels to the state of Alabama for matches against Auburn and Alabama. Tennessee takes on the Tigers at 3 pm CT / 4 pm ET on Friday, April 15, then travels north to Tuscaloosa to face the Crimson Tide on Sunday, April 17, at 1 pm CT / 2 pm ET.

Fans can tune into the SEC CrossCourt Cast by Cracked Racquets, hosted on UTSports.com. This will be available for Friday’s match against Auburn, if it is played outside, and can be seen here. Live stats for Friday’s match can be found here. Video for Sunday’s match at Alabama can be seen here, while live stats can be viewed by clicking here.

LAST TIME OUT
Tennessee (12-7, 6-5 SEC) celebrated its Senior Day in a 4-0 victory over Kentucky at Barksdale Stadium, during UT’s All Vol Weekend. Tennessee honored Callie Creath, Kylie Duckworth and Tenika McGiffin for their years of building the program after the match.

The Lady Vols snagged a pair of doubles victories on Courts 2 and 3, coming from Esther Adeshina / Rebeka Mertena on 2 and Kylie Duckworth and Elza Tomase on 3. The Big Orange then took care of business in singles, collecting wins on courts 1, 3 and 6.

Tomase secured the first singles winner, taking the match 6-2, 6-3 over Carla Girbau. Then on Court 6, Eleonora Molinaro breezed through her second set, 6-3, 6-1 to make it 3-0. Mertena finished the job on Court 1, securing Tennessee’s ninth sweep of the season.

ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH JARRYD CHAPLIN
“We’ve got two more quality teams coming up this weekend, just like it is with all weekends in this conference.”

“We have prepared well this week. If our team leaves it all out there and is resilient, we will give ourselves opportunities to compete and have success. I am excited to see us play this weekend.”

RANKING THE LADY VOLS
Tennessee got three doubles teams in the ITA doubles rankings for the first time under head coach Alison Ojeda. The pair of Adeshina and Mertena are on a roll at No. 2, winning their last five matches.

Singles
Rebecca Mertena – No. 30
Tenika McGiffin – No. 52
Elza Tomase – No. 111

Doubles
Daria Kuczer /Tenika McGiffin – No. 17
Vs. Esther Adeshina / Rebeka Mertena – No. 76
Vs. Esther Adeshina / Elza Tomase – No. 90

SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Auburn (18-4, 9-2 SEC) has been a surprising star in the national landscape. The Tigers are ranked no. 13 as a team in Wednesday’s ITA Top 25 and sit in third in the SEC standings. Preseason, Auburn was picked up to finish seventh in the conference.

The Tigers qualified for the ITA National Indoor Championship for the first time since 2018 after cruising through the Orlando regional at UCF.

Auburn’s Selin Ovunc is the reigning SEC Player of the Week after two top-15 singles victories against South Carolina and Florida. Yu Chen is the duals win leader for AU, holding an 18-3 record with 14 of those victories coming at No. 6.

Three Tiger singles players and a doubles team find a spot in the doubles rankings.

Singles
Selin Ovunc – No. 35
Ariana Arseneault – No. 68
Carolyn Ansari – No. 107

Doubles
Ariana Arseneault / Selin Ovunc – No. 16

SCOUTING THE CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama (14-9, 4-7 SEC) enters the weekend on a three-match slide after playing its last four matches on the road. The Crimson Tide will be celebrating their Senior Day before the match on Sunday and hold a 11-2 record in Tuscaloosa.

Petra Sedlackova is the singles win leader for UA, with a 15-3 dual record and a 22-5 overall record this season. She has played all 18 of her matches at No. 3. In doubles, Loudmilla Bencheikh and Anne Marie Hiser lead the team with 21 wins. They are 12-7 in duals and have played together on Court 1 all season.

The Crimson Tide have two singles players in the ITA individual rankings.

Singles
Petra Sedlackova – No. 87
Loudmilla Bencheikh – No. 90

THREE TO DECIDE IT
As it has all season, the result on Court 3 in singles holds a tremendous weight on the outcome of the match. When the Lady Vols win or go unfinished on Court 3 in singles, the team is 12-0. When UT loses, it is 0-7.

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