April 1, 2012
AUBURN – No. 62 Auburn women’s tennis dropped a marathon match that lasted nearly five hours on Sunday afternoon at the Yarbrough Tennis Center to No. 38 South Caroilna, 4-3.
“All credit goes out to South Carolina,” Auburn head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “They fought to the end and showed great guts and fight during an emotional and difficult day. We had every opportunity to close the match in singles and in doubles, but just didn’t take advantage of leads and we let them back into it.”
Auburn’s Plamena Kurteva battled through three sets and multiple tie-breakers before falling to Dominika Kanakova 6-2, 6-7, 5-7 as the match closed in on five hours. The loss by Kurteva gave the Gamecocks the 4-3 victory.
After dropping a hotly-contested doubles point, Auburn battled back with a trio of key singles wins. The first came from Olivia Bennett on court six as she dispatched Josefin Andersson, 6-3, 6-0. Jackie Kasler followed up with a three-set win over Katerina Popova. After falling behind with a first-set defeat, the sophomore rallied for the 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory on court four.
Paulina Schippers then capped Auburn’s comeback with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 win at No. 5 to tie the game at 3-5 and turn all attention toward Kurteva on court three.
In doubles action, Bennett and Kurteva knocked off South Carolina’s team of Katerina Popova and Andersson, 9-7. The Gamecocks knotted the doubles portion at one match each with a 9-7 win by No. 65 Jaklin Alawi and Anya Morgina over the Tigers’ tandem of Emily Flickinger and Kasler.
The point ultimately went to South Carolina when Auburn’s ranked duo of Jen Pfeifler and Schippers fell to Adriana Pereira and Kanakova 8-8, 1-0 (7-5) via the tie-breaker.
Auburn is in action next on Friday when they visit Tennessee. For the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AUWomensTennis on Twitter.