Arkansas Upsets Tennessee 4-1 to Advance to th
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 27 Arkansas upset No. 18 Tennessee 4-1 on Sunday in the round of 32 at the 2004 NCAA Men’s Tennis National Championships to advance to its first Sweet 16 under head coach Robert Cox.
The win avenges an earlier 4-3 loss to Tennessee when the two faced each other on March 5 at Arkansas’ UA Outdoor Tennis Complex.
“It means a lot for our team to pick this win up and get our coach to the Sweet 16,” Rohan Gajjar said. “The team just knew it would be a special feeling to get Coach Cox there [Sweet 16].”
UA beat Oklahoma State, 4-3, in the first round on Saturday, and has won two matches in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. This is Arkansas’ first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1986 when only 16 teams received bids to the tournament. The Razorbacks beat California, 5-1, in the first round before losing to SMU, 5-1, in the quarterfinals.
For the second consecutive day in Sunday’s win, Rohan Gajjar was able to clinch the match for the Razorbacks (16-9). Gajjar faced Tennessee’s hard-serving Mark Dietrich at three singles. Dietrich broke Gajjar twice in the first set to get the early lead, 6-2. In the second, both players fought to an even 6-6 and would settle the set with a tiebreaker. Gajjar fell behind early in the tiebreaker, but battled back to win the tiebreaker, 8-6, and take the set, 7-6. Gajjar seized the third set momentum by quickly jumping on Dietrich 5-0 before winning the match, 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1.
After losing doubles for the second straight day, the Hogs found themselves behind 0-1, but once again used singles play to overcome the deficit. Freshman Matt Simpson gave the Razorbacks its first point of the match when he defeated Kiril Tcherveniachki at four singles, 6-2, 6-2. Tied at 1-1, Adrians Zguns, No. 18 in the nation, came off the court minutes later to give the Razorbacks a 2-1 lead with his victory over Ockie Oosthuizen, 6-4, 6-2. Matt Roberts would be the next to post victory for the Hogs with his win over Damien Spizzo at five singles, 6-3, 6-3.
“This team has a lot of heart and a lot of fight in them,” head coach Robert Cox said. “I’ve had some great teams in the past, but this team really came together this season.”
Arkansas faces fourth-ranked and second-seeded Southern California on Saturday, May 22,in the Sweet 16. Southern California defeated California, 4-1, in its regional on Sunday.
Second Round–Regional Final
May 16, 2004
No. 27 Arkansas 4, No. 18 Tennessee 1
No. 1 #9 Simon Rea/Damien Spizzo(UT) def. #52 Nathan Price/Matt Simpson, 8-2
No. 2 Matt Roberts/Imraan Ismail(UA) def. Ockie Oosthuizen/Ben Rogers, 8-3
No. 3 Mark Dietrich/Wade Orr(UT) def. Adrians Zguns/Rohan Gajjar(UA), 8-4
Order of finish: 2,1,3
No. 1 #38 Nathan Price(UA) vs. #34 Simon Rea(UT), 7-5, 3-6 (susp)
No. 2 #18 Adrians Zguns(UA) def. Ockie Oosthuizen(UT), 6-4, 6-2
No. 3 Rohan Gajjar(UA) def. Mark Dietrich(UT), 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1
No. 4 Matt Simpson(UA) def. Kiril Tcherveniachki(UT), 6-2, 6-2
No. 5 Matt Roberts(UA) def. Damien Spizzo(UT), 6-3, 6-3
No. 6 Imraan Ismail(UA) vs. #116 Wade Orr(UT), 4-6, 6-4, 2-4 (susp)
Order of finish: 4,2,5,3
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