STARKVILLE, Miss. – Auburn freshmen Pleun Burgmans and Michala Kucharova secured the final two points as the 19th-ranked Tigers defeated Arkansas 4-3 in the second round of the 2013 SEC Women’s Tennis Championship at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
“I’m really proud of the way the girls gutted out the win tonight,” Auburn women’s tennis head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “I’m really pleased with the way Pleun and Michala battled and got two big victories to wrap up the win. This is a big opportunity for them to grow in such a high-pressure situation. Now we have to refocus and get ready for a really, really good team in Texas A&M tomorrow.”
With the victory, Auburn advances to face the second-seed Aggies on Friday at 2 p.m. CT.
Kucharova secured the winning point for Auburn (18-7) in dramatic fashion with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) tie-break victory over the Razorbacks’ Sarah McLean. Just a few minutes earlier the 23rd-ranked Burgmans took down ITA No. 42 Yang Pang, 6-4, 6-3, to even score at 3-3.
The victory gives Auburn 18 wins on the season, the highest total since winning 19 in 1989. The win is the first for the Tigers at the SEC Tennis Championship since 2008.
Arkansas (13-15) was able to even the score at 1-1 with a victory on court six. The Tigers responded next with a 2-1 lead courtesy of a 6-4, 6-3 win by Jackie Kasler over Brittany Huxley.
After dropping the first set 3-6, sophomore Emily Flickinger rebounded to win the second set 6-0, but fell in the third 4-6 to allow the Razorbacks to take the 3-2 lead and turn all eyes to Burgmans at No. 1 and Kucharova on court three.
Auburn quickly fell behind a match in doubles play with a loss on court three, but rallied for a win at the first line by No. 11 Burgmans and Kurteva over ITA No. 72 Claudine Paulson and Segou Jonker, 9-7. The victory by Auburn’s top tandem shifted all the pressure to court two with the doubles point in the balance.
With all the pressure on their shoulders, Auburn’s team of Kasler and Flickinger responded with an 8-6 win over Pang and Huxley to secure the coveted doubles point and a 1-0 lead.
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