AUBURN, Ala. – The 36th-ranked Razorback men’s tennis team suffered some quick losses Friday afternoon in Auburn, Ala., and could only muster two singles wins in its 5-2 defeat at the hands of 27th-ranked Auburn. The Hogs were looking to improve on their 1-1 Southeastern conference record coming into Friday, but could not seem to stay on the courts long enough to give themselves an opportunity.
Sophomore Manfred Jeske
and junior Mike Ward
did get the lone two singles wins for the Razorbacks on Friday, but they were not until Auburn had already won four straight matches to open singles play. With the loss, Arkansas falls to 10-4 overall on the year and 1-2 in the SEC. Auburn moves up to 11-4 this year and is also now 1-2 in the SEC.
"We could have done a lot better today," Arkansas head coach Robert Cox
said. "Auburn got on top of us early and dominated at the top three courts. Hats off to them for playing well. Some of the positions just didn't go our way. We learned from this, no doubt and we will definitely bounce back on Sunday against Alabama."
The day started out rough for the Hogs in doubles as Arkansas could not get a win on any of the three courts. The Tigers won at court one right away, but the final two courts were very competitive from start to finish. Senior Nikolas Zogaj
and junior Gregoire Lehmann
actually had a two game lead late in their match, but, unfortunately could not finish on top as they were defeated by Lucas Lopasso and Rafael Rondino, 9-7. Court two was very close, as well, but it was the Tigers, again, that came out the victors as sophomores Jeske and Mike Nott
were ousted by Lukas Ollert and Daniel Cochrane, 8-7.
Once singles began, Auburn showed why it is one of the best teams in the SEC as its top three players all won in straight sets and only gave up a combined six games to the Razorbacks. The clinching match came on court three as Alex Stamchev defeated senior Matt Walters
, 6-2, 6-2, to give Auburn the important fourth team point.
Determined to not go home on a low note, the Razorbacks were picked up with the play at courts four and five as Jeske had his own straight set win, coming against the 118th-ranked Ollert, 7-5, 6-1. The win for Jeske is not only his 13th-win of the year, but also his third win over a ranked opponent this season. Jeske is now 3-1 against ITA ranked opponents combined for the fall and spring seasons.
The Razorbacks have been especially successful across the board against ranked individuals this year as they are now 6-7 as a team against the top-125. At least one of those six wins has come from four different players.
Finishing out the singles matches, Ward made it two straight for the Razorbacks as he gave his team its second point of the afternoon with a 7-5, 7-6 win over Lopasso at court five.
Ward has been solid for the men’s tennis team at the No. 5 spot this year as he is now 10-8 overall and becomes the fifth Razorback with a double-digit win total in singles this season.
Arkansas will continue its road trip this Sunday as it will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. First serve is slated for noon and live stats will be available during the match. A full recap and complete results will be posted online following the match.
#36 Arkansas 2
#27 Auburn 5
Complete Doubles Results
Order of Finish: 1, 2*, 3
Complete Singles Results
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2*, 6, 4, 5
No. 5 Mike Ward
(ARK) def. Lucas Lopasso (AUB) 7-5, 7-6
No. 6 Michael Wardell (AUB) def. Mike Nott
(ARK) 6-2, 6-1