TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A pair of tiebreakers proved to be the difference for 19th-ranked Auburn as the Tigers held on for a 4-2 win over Oklahoma State Friday afternoon in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament.
Auburn will face No. 7 Florida State in the NCAA Round of 32 at 3 p.m. CT Saturday at the Speicher Tennis Center. Live scoring and live video are available; links to both can be found on the women’s tennis schedule page at AuburnTigers.com.
The Tigers (14-8) took an early lead after claiming a hard-fought doubles point. After moving ahead 3-0, they saw the Cowgirls (11-12) fight back with a pair of singles wins, but freshman Adeline Flach delivered the clinching victory in a second-set tiebreaker to push Auburn into the second round.
“A team effort is what you want to see this time of year, and that is exactly what we brought today,” Auburn head coach Caroline Lilley said. “The competitive grit fueled discipline, and the perspective catalyzed fearless play. We embrace being the team that hunts for the solution when facing adversity.”
Carolyn Ansari and Selin Ovunc, playing at the second doubles spot, grabbed a 6-2 win to start things off. But Anastasia Astakhova and Yu Chen fell to OSU’s Medvedeva and Thamchaiwat, 6-4, setting up a thrilling finish on court 1.
In a wild match that saw each of the first 10 games won by the receiving team, OSU’s tandem of Stara and Wolfberg won the first service game by either team to take a 6-5 lead. But Georgie Axon and Flach, ranked 69th nationally, fought back to force a tiebreaker, then broke OSU’s serve on match point in the breaker for a 7-6 (5) win and a 1-0 lead in the team match.
Four of the first six sets in singles went to the Tigers with No. 61 Ovunc taking hers 6-0 and Ansari, Axon and Flach also claiming first-set wins. Ansari, ranked 71st nationally, got the Tigers’ first singles point with a 6-4, 6-1 win at the No. 2 spot, and Axon followed soon thereafter with a 6-3, 6-2 win on court four.
But from there, things tightened up. Ovunc dropped her second set, Astakhova fell at the No. 6 position, 6-4, 6-3, and Chen fought hard at the No. 3 spot but fell 6-2, 6-4 to cut the Auburn lead to 3-2.
Meanwhile, Ovunc and 26th-ranked Thamchaiwat were trading blows on court one, and Flach fought her way into a second-set tiebreaker on court five. It would be Flach, however, that delivered the clinching point, taking the tiebreaker 7-3 to earn a 6-4, 7-6 (3) match and send Auburn through to the second round.
Auburn will be facing Florida State for the third time in the NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles claimed a 4-0 win in the first round in 2009 in Gainesville, and Auburn defeated FSU 4-2 in the 2017 second round at home to advance to the round of 16. It will be the first meeting between the teams in Tallahassee since 2012.
The winner of Saturday’s match advances to the NCAA Championships round of 16, which begins May 16 in Orlando, Fla.
Tickets are available via Seminoles.com or by calling the FSU ticket office (850-644-1830). The Spiecher Tennis Center will be at 50% capacity. Tickets will be general admission (except for center sections) and fans will be required to wear masks inside the venue.
For the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AuburnWTennis on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
NCAA First Round
#19 Auburn 4, #37 Oklahoma State 2
1. #61 Selin Ovunc (AU) vs. #26 Bunyawi Thamchaiway (OSU), 6-0, 2-6, 4-4 unfinished
2. #71 Carolyn Ansari (AU) def. Ayumi Miyamoto (OSU), 6-4, 6-1
3. #58 Alana Wolfberg (OSU) def. Yu Chen (AU), 6-2, 6-4
4. Georgie Axon (AU) def. Dariya Detkovskaya (OSU), 6-3, 6-2
5. Adeline Flach (AU) def. Lenka Stara (OSU), 6-4, 7-6 (3)
6. Danielle Medvedeva (OSU) def. Anastaska Astakhova (AU), 6-4, 6-3
Order of finish: 2, 4, 6, 3, 5
1. #69 Axon/Flach (AU) def. Stara/Wolfberg (OSU), 7-6 (5)
2. Ansari/Ovunc (AU) def. Miyamoto/Detkovskaya (OSU), 6-2
3. Medvedeva/Thamchaiwat (OSU) def. Astakhova/Chen (AU), 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1