March 13, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. – No. 21 Auburn women’s tennis looks to continue its perfect start in SEC play when it hosts in-state rival No. 8 Alabama on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
The Tigers (14-2, 4-0 SEC) picked up a pair of roads win last weekend to earn a 4-0 start in league play for the second straight year. Auburn downed both, No. 45 Arkansas and No. 47 LSU, 4-3.
Strong doubles play by Auburn has been a major part of its success this season. The Tigers have won the doubles point in all 16 dual matches and Auburn now boasts two ranked doubles pairs after this week’s latest rankings by the ITA.
Auburn’s Pleun Burgmans and Emily Flickinger moved up to No. 12 in the country in this week’s release; the tandem is 11-0 in dual matches at the top of the lineup. Michala Kucharova and Reka Muller have continued to play well at No. 2 and are also 11-0 in dual match play. The duo jumped back into the ITA rankings at No. 46.
In singles, senior Jackie Kasler, sophomore Paula de Man and Burgmans lead the Tigers with a 3-1 record in SEC play through four matches. Kasler clinched the match at Arkansas with a three-set win at No. 6 and the senior has won four out of her last five matches. de Man has also won three straight and is 6-2 this year playing at the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
Burgmans starts play this week at No. 33 in the nation in singles, while Flickinger moved up to No. 101 after picking up her third victory over a ranked opponent this season last Sunday at LSU.
No. 8 Alabama (12-2, 4-0) enters Friday’s match after a sweep of Arkansas and LSU last weekend. The Crimson Tide boast four players inside the ITA’s top-125 rankings in singles. No. 59 Erin Routliffe leads Alabama with a 20-6 record overall in singles and is 3-0 against SEC foes. Routliffe and Maya Jansen enter Friday’s match as the eighth-ranked doubles duo in the nation by the ITA.
Last season, Auburn nearly topped Alabama on the road, falling 4-3 in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers have lost both times to the Crimson Tide, 4-3, in the last two meetings between the teams.