March 11, 2010
AUBURN- The No. 63 Auburn women's tennis team (6-4, 2-0 SEC) is set to host two of the top teams in the country this weekend from the City of Auburn/Yarbrough Tennis Center, as the Tigers will take on No. 5 Florida on Friday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m. Following the matchup with the Gators, the Tigers will take on the No. 20 South Carolina Sunday, March 14 at 1 p.m.
"We're very excited to be playing at home. That always has a bit of comfort to it," said assistant coach Christine Gray. "These are two very strong teams, and we just want to keep focusing on doing the things that we're doing well. If we stay focused and on task, hopefully we'll pull out one, if not two, wins this weekend."
Auburn is coming off a 0-2 weekend in the opening week of SEC play after falling to Tennessee 6-1 on Friday and 4-3 to Georgia on Sunday. The pair of losses snapped Auburn's four-match win streak as the Tigers are now 6-4 and 0-2 in SEC play.
As a team, the Tigers are 33-20 in singles this season and 18-9 in doubles. The freshman tandem of Paulina Schippers and Plamena Kurteva lead Auburn with an 8-1 doubles mark, while senior Fani Chifchieva, fresh off defeating Georgia's No. 6 Chelsey Gullickson, is 7-2 on the season. The win over Gullickson was Chifchieva's second win over Gullickson of her career, as she defeated the Bulldog star last season 6-3, 6-1.
Florida enters Friday's matchup in first place in the SEC Eastern Division with a 12-2 overall record and 2-0 mark in SEC play. The Gators are coming off a big 6-1 win over No. 4 North Carolina on Wednesday, winning six of the eight matches against the Tar Heels. The win improved the Gators' record against nationally-ranked teams to 8-2 on the season.
Auburn has never defeated the Gators in program history, as Florida holds a 31-0 advantage over the Tigers. However, the Tigers came within an eyeleash of knocking off Florida on April 12 of last season, falling to the Gators 4-3 in Gainesville. The match, tied heading into No. 1 singles, was decided as Florida's All-American Marritt Boonstra defeated Auburn's All-American, Chifchieva, in three sets 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 to give Florida the victory and continue the undefeated streak.
As a team, Florida is 71-32 in singles play and 70-13 in doubles action. The Gators feature five singles players in the national rankings, as freshman Allie Will is No. 11. She is followed by Lauren Embree at No. 15, Boonstra at No. 62, Anastasia Revzina at No. 105 and Carolie Hitimana who is No. 115. A pair of Florida doubles teams are also in the national rankings, with the tandem of Boonstra and Will holding the top team ranking at No. 6, while Embree and Revzina hold down the No. 34 ranking
South Carolina (7-3, 2-0 SEC) is ranked No. 28 in the ITA poll, and has jumped 38 spots in the latest poll after victories over nationally ranked opponents in USF, LSU and Arkansas. Most recently, the Gamecocks defeated No. 61 Wake Forest 5-2 on March 8 to extend their winning streak to five matches. South Carolina heads into competition against No. 68 Alabama before traveling to Auburn to take on the Tigers prior to Sunday.
As a team, the Gamecocks are 99-57 in singles action this season, and are 39-27 in doubles play. South Carolina boasts a pair of players who are nationally-ranked in Ana Marija Zubori, who is No. 72 with a 17-8 record and Anya Morgina at No. 111 with a 13-6 record.
In doubles play, the Gamecocks have used 15 different doubles pairings so far this season, with the pair of Zubori and Diana Stojic holding a 9-3 record in flight one, while Madeleine Saari-Bystrom and Zubori hold a 4-1 record.
South Carolina leads the all-time series against the Tigers by a 23-4 margin, but Auburn has won two of the last three meetings against the Gamecocks, with both victories coming in the 2008 season. The first victory came on April 6, as Auburn defeated South Carolina 4-3 from Yarbrough Tennis Center. The Tigers followed up that victory with another win only 11 days later in the first round of the SEC Tournament on April 17 by a 4-0 margin. Last season, South Carolina took the only meeting 5-2 in Columbia.
Live Stats will be available via AuburnTigers.com for each match.