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Arkansas Knocked off by No. 4 Cal at ITA Indoo

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas Knocked off by No. 4 Cal at ITA Indoo
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Making their sixth all-time appearance at the ITA Indoor National Tournament, the Arkansas Razorbacks were faced with the daunting task of facing the No. 4 Cal-Berkeley Bears in the first round.

Thursday morning’s match saw the Hogs fall to the two-time tournament champions by a score of 4-0.

Doubles action saw Arkansas shake things up a bit, swapping Talley Parker and Matt Roberts. With Aleksey Bubis and Roberts playing two and Rohan Gajjar and Parker at the three spot, head coach Robert Cox was hoping for this move to pay huge dividends. However, it would not happen as the Cal duos of Patrick Briaud and Balazs Veress, playing two, and Conor Niland and Mik Ledvonova at three both won their matches, 8-4, to secure the doubles point for Cal. Play at the number one spot between Arkansas team of Nathan Price and Eduardo Pacheco and the Cal squad of Steve Berke and Robert Kowalczyk was suspended.

In singles play, Cal boasted four players throughout their lineup ranked in the top-100 in the country. So coming back to win would not be an easy task for the Hogs.

At the one slot, Price would play the No. 37 Veress. Bubis, No. 57, would have to play No. 31 Niland at the two position. The No. 104 Pacheco faced Or Dekel at number three. Adrians Zguns took on the No. 82 Kowalczyk. Gajjar and Berek would play each other at the five. Bringing up the rear at number six would be Roberts facing Wayne Wong, No. 95.

Coming back to win was something the Hogs were not able to do against the Bears as the California singles crew dominated the matches. First to finish was the six, followed by the two then the three.

At six, Roberts dropped his first dual decision of the spring semester to Mik Ledvonova, 6-2, 6-2. Bubis would be the next Razorback to fall as he dropped the decision, 6-2, 6-3, to give Cal a 3-0 lead. The clinching match would be the number three match that found Eduardo Pacheco falling to Or Dekel in a final of 6-1, 6-4.

With the loss, the Hogs fall to 6-2 on the spring, 8-2 overall and 1-5 in USTA/ITA first round matches. They will face Southern California in backdraw play. USC, ranked No. 13, dropped their first round match to Florida, 4-0. USC, last year’s defending NCAA champions, defeated Arkansas in the 2002 NCAA regional finals, 4-0.

The Trojans will have a different look for the Razorbacks this year, however. USC lost the bulk of its lineup, returning only five players. They, like the Razorbacks, look to bank on their talent rather than experience as they play two freshmen, three sophomores and a junior in their lineup.

The series between USC and the Razorbacks hasn’t been a common one. Since 1980, the Hogs and the Trojans have faced off ten times – three times in the NCAA tournament. History has been on USC’s side as the Hogs are 1-9 against the Trojans.

The eleventh match in 18 years begins Friday morning at 9 a.m. in backdraw play at the Louisville Tennis Club.

Singles
1. No. 37 Balazs Veress (Cal) vs. Nathan Price, susp
2. No. 31 Conor Niland (Cal)def. No. 57 Aleksey Bubis, 6-2, 6-3
3. Or Dekel (Cal) def. No. 104 Eduardo Pacheco, 6-1, 6-4
4. No. 82 Robert Kowalczyk (Cal) vs. Adrians Zguns, susp
5. Steve Berke (Cal) vs. Rohan Gajjar, susp
6. No. 95 Wayne Wong (Cal) def. Matt Roberts, 6-2, 6-2

Doubles
1. Berke/Kowalczyk (Cal) vs. Price/Pacheco, suspended
2. Patrick Briaud/Veress (Cal) def. Bubis/Roberts, 8-4
3. Niland/Mik Ledvonova (Cal) def. Gajjar/Talley Parker, 8-4



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