STARKVILLE, Miss. – The 39th-ranked Razorback men’s tennis team had an unbelievably great start to its match with 10th-ranked Mississippi State Sunday afternoon after defeating two ranked doubles teams to earn the first team point of the day. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were the ones that came up big in singles, winning four straight matches and handing the Razorbacks a tough 4-1 loss.
The highlight of the day for Arkansas (14-9, 1-7 SEC) came during the doubles portion of the match where the Hogs jumped on Mississippi State (16-4, 7-1 SEC) early and never let up. The big upset came at the No. 2 position where sophomore Manfred Jeske
and Mike Nott
defeated 43-ranked George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin by a dominating score of 8-1. The win is the duo’s first over a ranked opponent this season and 12th overall this year.
The upsets didn’t stop, however, as Arkansas clinched the important first team point with an 8-3 win by the No. 48 doubles team of junior Hall Fess
and senior Matt Walters
over 32nd-ranked Malte Stropp and Louis Cant. With the victory, Fess and Walters continue to hold on to the top spot on the team in wins as they are now 20-4 on the year and have won four straight. The team has also defeated three ranked opponents this season, with all three coming over the last three weeks.
The Razorbacks took the momentum straight into singles and looked to pull the big upset for their second conference win of the year. However, the Bulldogs brought in four ranked players into its six singles matches and quickly retook the lead winning at courts one and three in straight sets.
The Hogs, not about to back down, made things interesting when junior Gregoire Lehmann
and Hall Fess
both made up for a lost first set and extended their match to a third set. Lehmann was down early to James Chaudry after losing the first frame, 6-2, but he battled back to win the second frame, 6-4. The same went for Fess, who lost the first set, 7-6, but kept the match alive with a 6-4 second set victory.
With those two matches in deciding third sets, Arkansas needed courts four and five to also go in their favor. Junior Mike Ward
, who won his first set with the 46th-ranked Coupland, 6-3, was forced to a third set as well, leaving three of the final four matches in third sets.
All eyes were on court four as Jeske and 44th-ranked Cant battled to a near stalemate in their second set. Cant won the first set, 6-1, but Jeske took the second set to a tiebreaker. However, Cant came out on top in the end, 7-6(3), which gave Mississippi State its third point.
Three matches were left and all were in third sets, but it seemed the damage had been done by the Bulldogs as they carried the momentum from Cant’s victory and ended up winning on court five for the clinching win.
The Hogs will return home for their final three matches of the season starting with Florida and South Carolina next Friday and Sunday respectively. Both matches are set to start at 1 p.m. at the Billingsley Tennis Center.
#39 Arkansas 1
#10 Mississippi St. 4
Complete Doubles Results
Order of Finish: 2, 1*
No. 3 Mike Wark/Nikolas Zogaj
(ARK) vs. Zach White/Ethan Wilkinson (MSU) 6-3
Complete Singles Results
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4, 5*
No. 1 #15 Artem Ilyushin (MSU) def. #108 Nikolas Zogaj
(ARK) 6-3, 6-1
No. 3 #67 Malte Stropp (MSU) def. Matt Walters
(ARK) 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 #46 George Coupland (MSU) def. Mike Ward
(ARK) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
No. 6 Hall Fess
(ARK) vs. Zach White (MSU) 6-7, 6-4, 3-5