RICHMOND, Va. – It doesn't matter how good of friends you are with somebody, when it comes to competition, you never want to lose.

That's what happened on Monday night at the Midlothian Tennis club as former VCU women's tennis standouts and close friends Kateryna Yergina and Lena Leonchuk battled in the USTA Virginia Air Clay Court Championship.

Yergina won a hard-fought battle, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, which last two hours and 38 minutes and was filled with lots of back-and-forth action.

"It was kind of cool, but also difficult because we're such good friends," Yergina said. "She knows all my weaknesses and I know all of her weaknesses."

Both hail from Kiev, Ukraine and both rank in the top-10 all-time in singles victories at VCU. Last year, the duo played a crucial part in the Rams' march to a top-25 ranking and the 2010 CAA Championship.

In the championship match, however, it was all business on the court.

"In tennis, you make so many friends," Leonchuk said. "But when you are on the court, you have an arrangement: you're not friends at all, it's all about the match. After that, you forget it and you're friends again."

The duo doesn't have time to think about the hard-fought battle as they are doubles partners as well.