No. 17 Auburn falls at No. 16 Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 17th-ranked Auburn women’s tennis team came up short in an SEC road battle Thursday, falling on the road at No. 16 Tennessee 4-1.

“Today was a tough match,” Auburn head coach Caroline Lilley said. “Once again we earned a lot of opportunities, which is exactly what we fight for. Missing on our terms, playing present with the intention to improve, takes time to embrace. Every match is a gift, simply the culmination of all the work we put in on a consistent basis. Trusting that work, loving the monotonous grind required to be great, will always be a choice.

“We look forward to approaching the matches ahead of us with the same grit, determination and tenacity that has come to define how Auburn women’s tennis competes.”

The Tigers (12-6, 7-5 SEC) came up just short in the doubles battle as the Lady Vols (13-6, 7-4) took a 1-0 lead. Selin Ovunc and Carolyn Ansari dropped a 6-2 decision on court 2, but Yu Chen and Anastasia Astakhova went the distance at the No. 3 spot, pushing their UT opponent to a tiebreaker. The Auburn tandem was unable to capitalize on a match point opportunity, though, and dropped the tiebreaker 9-7 to give the Lady Vols the doubles point. Georgie Axon and Adeline Flach were down 6-5 but on serve when doubles play was halted.

Ansari put Auburn on the board with a quick 6-3, 6-0 win over 45th-ranked Carly Briggs at the No. 3 spot. But the Tigers were unable to break through elsewhere. Flach dropped her match to Tenika McGiffin, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 5 spot, then Axon fell for the first time in SEC play with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Daria Kuczer on court four. Tennessee clinched the match as 96th-ranked Rebeka Mertena defeated 62nd-ranked Ovunc, 6-4, 6-4, at the top singles line.

Chen won her first set 6-4 and was in the third set with Eleonora Molinaro, and Astakhova was down 7-5, 4-3 to Johanna Silva when play was halted.

The Tigers close out the two-match road swing and the 2021 regular season Saturday with an 11 a.m. CT match at No. 3 Georgia.

For the latest on Auburn women’s tennis, follow @AuburnWTennis on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

#16 Tennessee 4, #17 Auburn 1


1. #96 Rebeka Mertena (UT) def. #62 Selin Ovunc (AU), 6-4, 6-4

2. #68 Eleonora Molinaro (UT) vs. #100 Yu Chen (AU), 4-6, 6-2, 1-1 unfinished

3. Carolyn Ansari (AU) def. #45 Carly Briggs (UT), 6-3, 6-0

4. Daria Kuczer (UT) def. Georgie Axon (AU), 6-3, 6-3

5. Tenika McGiffin (UT) def. Adeline Flach (AU), 6-1, 6-2

6. Johanna Silva (UT) vs. Anastasia Astakhova (AU), 7-5, 4-3 unfinished

Order of finish: 3, 5, 4, 1


1. McGiffin/Molinaro (UT) vs. Axon/Flach (AU), 6-5 unfinished

2. Adeshina/Briggs (UT) def. Ansari/Ovunc (AU), 6-2

3. Kuczer/Duckworth (UT) def. Astakhova/Chen (AU), 7-6 (7)

Order of finish: 2, 3


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