No. 41 MSU Women’s Tennis Drops 4-3 Heartbreaker To No. 23 Kentucky
STARKVILLE – In a match that saw three three-set affairs, four tiebreakers and lasted over four-and-a-half hours, the 41st-ranked Mississippi State women’s tennis squad came up just short in a heart-wrenching 4-3 decision to No. 23 Kentucky Thursday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
With the setback, State dropped to 10-10, 2-10 in SEC play, while the Wildcats improved to 14-6, 6-6 in conference play. UK now leads 39-6 in the all-time series with MSU. Thursday’s victory was their first in Starkville since 2014.
Kentucky struck first by claiming an incredibly tight doubles point in tiebreaker fashion. State’s 14th-ranked tandem of Magda Adaloglou and Tamara Racine dropped the first match complete 6-1 to Kentucky’s No. 8-ranked duo of Fiona Arrese and Akvilė Paražinskaitė at the No. 1 position.
The final two doubles matches then entered tiebreakers to decide the match’s first point. Carla Girbau and Ana Tkachenko slipped past Bulldogs Emma Antonaki and Marta Falceto 7-6(4) on court 2 to give Kentucky the early 1-0 advantage. State’s team of Chloé Cirotte and Alexandra Mikhailuk were ahead 6-4 in a tiebreak with Wildcats’ Lesedi Jacobs and Elizabeth Steven at the No. 3 spot when play was suspended.
Kentucky extended their lead to 2-0 when Girbau grabbed the first point in singles with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Cirotte on court 4.
But the Bulldogs responded with two-straight wins of their own to knot the score at 2-2. Mikhailuk ousted UK’s Arrese 7-5, 6-2 on court 5 while State’s 32nd-ranked Antonaki posted a three-set comeback victory over the 47th-ranked Wildcat Paražinskaitė – 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the top spot in the lineup, winning four deciding points in the third set to key the win. Her victory marked the fourth over a ranked opponent this season and her 20th win in 23 matches.
On court 2, MSU’s 74th-ranked Adaloglou then delivered an energetic 7-6(2), 7-5 triumph over UK’s Carlota Molina to push MSU ahead 3-2. Adaloglou has now claimed 19 of her last 22 singles outings, dating back to last season.
The Wildcats would then claim the last two matches in fierce three-set affairs to edge State out for the win. UK tied the match at 3-3 when Jacobs, ranked 71st nationally, came out victorious over Bulldog Lilian Poling at the No. 3 position 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
A court 6 matchup featuring State’s Falceto and Kentucky’s Maialen Morante would then decide the match. After the two split the first two sets, they would fight back and forth in an extremely tight third which saw the two competitors trade serving breaks and holds throughout, with the set finally going to a tiebreaker to decide the match. Once again, the two players traded blows back and forth before Morante finally pulled out a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(6) triumph to give the Wildcats the team victory.
The Bulldogs will conclude the 2021 regular season by welcoming No. 21 Vanderbilt to town this Saturday, April 10, at Noon CT. That match will be Senior Day, as Bulldog Lilian Poling will be honored in a ceremony preceding the match.
#23 Kentucky 4, #41 Mississippi State 3
April 8, 2021
Starkville, Miss. – A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre
1. #8 Fiona Arrese/Akvilė Paražinskaitė (UK) def. #14 Magda Adaloglou/Tamara Racine (MSU) 6-1
- Carla Girbau/Ana Tkachenko (UK) def. Emma Antonaki/Marta Falceto (MSU) 7-6(4)
- Chloé Cirotte/Alexandra Mikhailuk (MSU) vs. Lesedi Jacobs/Elizabeth Stevens (UK) 6-6(6-4), susp.
Order of finish: 1,2
- #32 Emma Antonaki (MSU) def. #47 Akvilė Paražinskaitė (UK) 0-6, 6-3, 6-3
- #74 Magda Adaloglou (MSU) def. Carlota Molina (UK) 7-6(2), 7-5
- #71 Lesedi Jacobs (UK) def. Lilian Poling (MSU) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
- Carla Girbau (UK) def. Chloé Cirotte (MSU) 6-3, 6-3
- Alexandra Mikhailuk (MSU) def. Fiona Arrese (UK) 7-5, 6-2
- Maialen Morante (UK) def. Marta Falceto (MSU) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(6)
Order of finish: 4,5,1,2,3,6