March 5, 2009
AUBURN - The No. 50 Auburn women's tennis team (5-4, 0-0 SEC) opens Southeastern Conference action Friday by hosting No. 18 LSU (7-2, 0-0 SEC) at the Yarbrough Tennis Center. The Tigers will return to the court on Sunday to host No. 28 Arkansas (5-2, 0-0 SEC) at 1 p.m.
"We are going to have our hands full with two teams that are full of talent and experience," head women's tennis coach Tim Gray said. "LSU is always ultra competitive in every aspect of the game. We will have to bring great intensity and focus for both of these matches. Arkansas has a score to settle with us after we upset them last spring. There is no doubt that this will be a great match of two very good teams."
Auburn picked up two wins last weekend. In shortened matches, the Tigers topped both Mercer and Troy by a score of 4-0. Against Mercer, seniors Alex Haney and Whitney Chappell both blanked their opponents, 6-0, 6-0. It was the first clean sweep of the season for both players.
Haney has a team-best record of 6-1. Chappell sports a 6-2 mark and has won five matches in a row. The senior duo also sports a 2-0 record in the No. 1 doubles spot. Combined the Tigers are 29-16 in singles play and 12-14 in doubles action.
The ITA released team, singles and doubles rankings on March 3. As a team, Auburn dropped from No. 25 to No. 50. Fani Chifchieva is now ranked 11th and Haney is listed 35th.
LSU will come to the Plains after shutting out UL-Lafayette, 7-0, on Feb. 28. The Tigers are led by No. 1 singles player and 12th-ranked Megan Falcon (8-0). Junior Nicole Kantor is 7-1 and has seen action at No. 3 and 4. LSU's No. 1 doubles team of Megan Falcon and Mykala Hedberg owns an 8-0 record and is ranked 17th.
Arkansas is coming off a 7-0 shutout of Memphis on Feb. 28. The Razorbacks will meet Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Friday in their first SEC match of the season. No. 2 singles player Anouk Tigu with a 5-0 record to lead the Razorbacks and 10th-ranked Aurelija Miseviciute is 6-1 in the No. 1 singles spot. In doubles play, the 18th-ranked duo of Nanar Airapetian and Anouk Tigu has a record of 4-3.
Auburn opened SEC action on the road against Arkansas and LSU in 2008.
In Fayetteville, Ark., the Tigers came away with a 4-3 victory. LSU was victorious over Auburn, 4-3, in Baton Rouge, La.