FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It was a time of fellowship and fun, when the Arkansas alumni returned to play the current Razorbacks in doubles competition Saturday afternoon. The alumni defeated the current Razorbacks 7-6.
“We had a great turnout,” head coach Robert Cox said. “I am really proud of all the Razorbacks and their families for coming out and showing their support for our players.”
A featured Razorback match pitted current Razorbacks Oskar Johansson, who is ranked eighth nationally, and Henrik Tofft against Peter Doohan and Pat Serret, who won the 1982 NCAA Championship in doubles. The duo of Sarrett and Doohan won three-straight matches before Johansson and Tofft could get into rhythm. Johansson and Tofft stormed back to a 6-6 tie before defeating Doohan and Sarret 7-4 in the tiebreak.
“What a great game the featured match was,” Cox said. “Oskar and Henrik got off to a slow start to Doohan and Sarret and then played them into a great tie breaker. It was a lot of fun to watch world class doubles like that.”
“Just by watching them play you can learn a lot,” Johansson said. “Talking to them afterwards, they gave us some good advice. They have a lot that they can teach us. I thought that I was pretty good at doubles, but now I know that I have a lot to learn.”
Arkansas’ first All-American Ron Hightower and 1986 All-American Joey Blake teamed up to play senior John Deaton and Tofft in the first set of matches. The All-American duo fell to the current Hogs for the only alumni set loss of the first set of matches.
In the second set of matches, the alumni and current athletes tied 2-2. Alumni Darin Phelan won his first of two matches on the day when he teamed up with John McConnell to defeat Johansson and freshman Eduardo Pacheco.
The current Razorbacks rallied in the final set of matches 3-1 but to no avail, for the alumni were able to win the one match needed for the win. Phelan and alumni Jef Falling defeated the duo of Stephen Hunton and Ronnie Stutz. The alumni were able to defeat the current Razorbacks with a scoring system that favored the alumni. The two teams played the best of six games with a tie going as a win to the alumni.
“This format really gives the advantage to the alumni,” head coach Robert Cox said. “We have to give them some handicap and they used it to their advantage. It has been really fun and it is a good way to kick off the season.
“The alumni’s strategy was to hold serve and to play these guys to three all,” Cox said.
The Razorbacks will begin their 2000 campaign, Tuesday, Jan. 25, in Fayetteville, when the Centenary Gents come to play at 4 p.m.