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Arkansas Takes Out Oklahoma State in Tennis Re

Arkansas Takes Out Oklahoma State in Tennis Re
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 27 Arkansas used a late momentum push to excel past the No. 31 Oklahoma State Cowboys, 4-3, on Saturday in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tennis Championships played at the University of Arkansas’ Outdoor Tennis Complex.

With the match tied at 3-3, the decisive point came down to three singles in a match that pitted Arkansas’ Rohan Gajjar against Oklahoma State’s Tomas Bohunicky. Gajjar took one break in the first set to win the set, 6-3. In the second set, Bohunicky led by a break of serve at 5-4, but Gajjar fought back to tie it at 5-5. With both players even, the set came down to a tiebreaker at 6-6. The tiebreaker belonged to Gajjar as he reeled off the first five points to lead 5-0 before winning the tiebreaker 7-4 to win the match, 6-3, 7-6(4).

“Rohan was able to do the same thing for us earlier this year in a similar situation against Georgia,” head coach Robert Cox said. “If we were to be in this situation again I would want him to play it.”

Arkansas (15-9) fell behind early to the Cowboys by losing at both number three and number two doubles. Three doubles saw Daniel Byrnes and Juan Felipe Diaz defeat Adrians Zguns and Rohan Gajjar, 8-0. Oklahoma State then earned the first point of the match with a come from behind win from Yevgen Bondarchuk and Boris Kuharic over Imraan Ismail and Matt Roberts. Ismail and Roberts held a 5-3 lead before Bondarchuk and Kuharic won five straight games to take the match, 8-5.

At one singles, Mark Van Elden, No. 24 in the nation, faced Arkansas’ Nathan Price, No. 38 in the nation. Elden controlled the match throughout winning, 6-3, 6-2, to give the Cowboys a 2-0 lead. Arkansas’ would then gain a pivotal point at six singles that triggered a comeback by the Razorbacks when Juan Felipe Diaz retired after suffering an ankle injury against Arkansas’ Imraan Ismail. The match was tied a set apiece at 4-6, 6-1. The Cowboys (17-6) made it 3-1 when Boris Kuharic defeated Matt Simpson at four singles, 6-4,7-6(3).

Two singles saw Adrians Zguns, No. 18 in the nation, face Bondarchuk. Zguns and Bondarchuk exchanged breaks of serve throughout the match, but in the end Zguns gave the Razorbacks their second point with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory. At five singles, Matt Roberts came from a set down against Daniel Byrnes to even the match at 3-3. Byrnes took the first set, 6-3 over Roberts, but in the second set Roberts evened the match at a set apiece by taking the second set with another 6-3 score to force a third set. The third set belonged to Roberts as he defeated Byrnes, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

“This match is what college tennis is all about especially during tournament time,” Cox said. “Oklahoma State outplayed us in doubles, but there were a lot of momentum changes in the match that led to us coming out on top.”

Arkansas will play SEC foe Tennessee in the regional final Sunday at 1 p.m. at Arkansas’ UA Outdoor Tennis Complex to play for a position in the sweet 16 played at the University of Tulsa May 22-25. UT beat Wichita State, 4-1, in Saturday’s other first-round match.

No. 27 Arkansas 4, No. 31 Oklahoma State 3
No. 1 – #52 Nathan Price/Matt Simpson (UA) vs. Mark Van Elden/Tomas Bohunicky, 7-6 (susp)
No. 2 – Yevgen Bondarchuk/Boris Kuharic (OSU) def. Matt Roberts/Imraan Ismail, 8-5
No. 3 – Daniel Byrnes/Juan Felipe Diaz (OSU) def. Adrians Zguns/Rohan Gajjar, 8-0
Order of Finish: 3, 2
No. 1 – #24 Mark Van Elden (OSU) def. #38 Nathan Price, 6-3, 6-2
No. 2 – #18 Adrians Zguns (UA) def. Yevgen Bondarchuk, 7-6 (5), 6-4
No. 3 – Rohan Gajjar (UA) def. Tomas Bohunicky, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
No. 4 – Boris Kuharic (OSU) def. Matt Simpson, 6-4, 7-6 (3)
No. 5 – Matt Roberts (UA) def. Daniel Byrnes, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
No. 6 – Imraan Ismail (UA) def. Juan Felipe Diaz, 4-6, 6-1, ret.
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 4, 2, 5, 3

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