Eckel Clinches 4-3 Bedlam Victory for No. 43 OU

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 14, 2010

April 14, 2010

NORMAN, Okla. — The No. 43 Oklahoma women’s tennis team beat in-state rival No. 59 Oklahoma State for the first time since 2005, topping the Cowgirls on Wednesday, 4-3.

Oklahoma (14-4, 4-3 Big 12) improved to 10-2 at home this season and picked up its fifth win over a nationally ranked opponent.  The Sooners were up 3-1 before OSU rallied to tie the match at 3-3.  The dual came down to the tiebreaker set in the final singles match at the No. 6 spot, where Tara Eckel clinched the win for the Sooners.

“We definitely didn’t play our best tennis today,” said OU head coach David Mullins. “I thought Tara (Eckel) competed really well to win that last match.  I’m delighted we got four points in any way that we could.”

Oklahoma claimed the doubles point with a sweep of all three matches.  OU cruised at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, winning 8-4 and 8-3, respectively.  The 23rd-ranked tandem of Ana-Maria Constantinescu and Teona Tsertsvadze clinched OU’s doubles sweep, defeating OSU’s Nataliya Shatkovskaya and Alisa Buslaieva at the No. 1 spot, 8-7.

“We went back to our old doubles lineup and I thought it was fantastic,” Mullins said. “I thought that was the best those three teams have played together since early February. That was exciting to see and crucial to get us off to a good start, I was really happy with doubles.”

In singles, Constantinescu, ranked No. 88 nationally, quickly brought OU’s lead to 2-0 after defeating Shatkovskaya at the No. 1 spot, 6-2, 6-4. 

Malika Rose won OSU’s first dual point, defeating OU’s Kristina Radan at the No. 5 spot, 6-3, 6-4. 

Maria Kalashnikova claimed OU’s next singles point, defeating OSU’s Sarah Meghoufel at the No. 4 position, 6-3, 6-3.  With Kalashnikova’s win, OU held a 3-1 lead over OSU.

The Cowgirls tied the dual at 3-3, after winning singles points at the No. 3 and No. 2 positions.  Alisa Buslaieva topped Tsertsvadze at the No. 3 spot, 7-6, 6-2, and Sasha Belova defeated Marie-Pier Huet at the No. 2 spot, 7-6, 6-4. 

Eckel clinched the win for OU after a clutch performance at the No. 6 spot. Eckel rallied from a four-point deficit to win the first set, 6-4, but OSU’s Alex Cristello forced the tiebreaker after winning the second set, 6-4.  Eckel decided the match quickly in the tiebreaker after a dominating 6-0 performance to insure the OU victory.

The Sooners will head north for two road matches, facing Kansas State on Saturday, April 17 at 11 a.m. and Kansas on Sunday, April 18 at noon. 

No. 43 Oklahoma 4, No. 59 Oklahoma State 3
1. No. 23 Constantinescu/Tsertsvadze (OU) def. Shatkovskaya/Buslaieva (OSU), 8-7
2. Eckel/Kalashnikova (OU) def. Belova/Meghoufel (OSU), 8-4
3. Connelly/Huet (OU) def. Rose/Cristello (OSU), 8-3
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1

1. Ana-Maria Constantinescu (OU) def. Nataliya Shatkovskaya (OSU), 6-2, 6-4
2. Sasha Belova (OSU) def. Marie-Pier Huet (OU), 7-6, 6-4
3. Alisa Buslaieva (OSU) def. Teona Tsertsvadze (OU), 7-6, 6-2
4. Maria Kalashnikova (OU) def. Sarah Meghoufel (OSU), 6-3, 6-3
5. Malika Rose (OSU) def. Kristina Radan (OU), 6-3, 6-4
6. Tara Eckel (OU) def. Alex Cristello (OSU), 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
Order of Finish: 1, 5, 4, 3, 2, 6*



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