OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss women’s tennis team dropped another 4-3 heartbreaker Sunday afternoon, this time to Arkansas, at the Gillom Sports Center.
The Rebels (5-9, 3-5 SEC) held a 3-2 lead against Arkansas in the match, which lasted nearly 6 ½ hours, but the Razorbacks rallied, winning the final two matches at five and six to come away with the victory.
After sophomore Erin Stephens won in three sets at No. 4 singles to give the Rebels the lead, Arkansas’ Brittany Huxley finished off Marija Milutinovic 6-2 in the third at five to even the overall match.
All eyes then turned to the final match at No. 6 singles, where Razorback Ana Belmar Hernandez was up a set, but Rebel junior Vief Vlaar appeared to be closing in on the second set. Vlaar served for it twice at 5-2 and then again at 5-4, but Belmar Hernandez won four straight games to take a 6-5 lead. Needing to hold serve to force a tiebreaker, Vlaar did, but Belmar Hernandez took it for a 6-2, 7-6(2) win to give her team the 4-3 victory.
The match began with Ole Miss taking the doubles point. Caroline Rohde-Moe and Milutinovic won 8-4 at No. 1, and then Stephens teamed up with Iris Verboven for a 9-7 win at No. 2 doubles to clinch the point.
Freshman Mai El Kamash, ranked No. 66 in the nation, gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead when she downed Sarah McLean 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.
Arkansas got on the board as senior Claudine Paulson defeated sophomore Julia Jones 7-6(6), 6-3 at No. 2 singles. Paulson remained undefeated in the SEC at 8-0. Jones had chances, as she led 4-2 in the first set. Paulson rallied and served for it at 5-4, but Jones broke back. In the tiebreaker, Jones led it 3-1 and then Paulson had two set points at 6-4. Jones saved them both, but Paulson won the final two points to gain the early momentum in the match.
At No. 1 singles, Rohde-Moe, ranked No. 39, battled 68th-ranked Yang Pang of Arkansas in a close battle that went back and forth. After dropping the first set tiebreaker 10-8, Rohde-Moe battled back to take a 4-2 lead in the second set. Pang would not go away though, as she broke right back and eventually they would go to another tiebreaker. Rohde-Moe saved several match points down 6-2 early on in the second set tiebreaker, and even held a set point before Pang closed it out 9-7 to tie it.
The Rebels return to action Wednesday, March 27 hosting a doubleheader against Jackson State beginning at Noon.
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