Starkova Advances to Final at SEC Coaches Classic

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Freshman Valentina Starkova continued her strong play at the SEC Fall Coaches Classic on Saturday as she advanced to the finals of her singles flight and added another victory in doubles play.

Starkova will take on Auburn’s Heather Bybee in the final which is scheduled to be played at 9 a.m. Central Time on Sunday at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The Almaty, Kazakhstan native came from behind to defeat LSU’s Keri Frankenberger 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 to make her first collegiate appearance in a final.

“We took another step forward today,” coach Michael Hegarty said. “We got some more rust out of our system. I am encouraged by our play so early in the season.”

In other semi-final singles play, sophomore Emily Carbone lost to Olesya Tsiguintseva of Mississippi State 7-6(5), 6-4. Freshman Kelsey Sundaram also fell to South Carolina’s Miki Jocic 7-5, 6-1.

Saturday was the final day of doubles action at the classic. Starkova and Carbone picked up an 8-3 win over Auburn’s Heather Bybee and Plamena Kurteva while the freshmen duo of Sundaram and Kate Lukomskaya dropped their match 8-6 to Ana Maria Zubori and Anna Morgina from South Carolina.

Results following Sunday’s final day of action can be found immediately at