FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 46 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team will take on two ranked teams from the Big 12 this weekend, hosting No. 57 Oklahoma on Friday at Dills Indoor Stadium before taking off for Austin, Texas for a Sunday showdown with the No. 8 Longhorns.The Razorbacks (5-2), earned solid victories last weekend against Oregon and Pacific, beating both opponents by the score of, 6-1 but are winless against ranked opponents so far this spring. In the kick-off weekend of the dual match season, the Hogs ran into then-No. 5 Virginia, now the top ranked team in the country, suffering a 7-0 defeat. A day after losing to the Hokies, Arkansas lost a hard-fought match to the Badgers, 4-3.
On Friday against the Sooners (4-2), the Razorbacks will come up against a few familiar faces, as Hogs Matt Hogan and Taylor King faced players from Oklahoma at the Wilson/ITA Central Region Championships held in Fayetteville last October.
In the second round of the Central Regional, King lost Ionut Beleleu in straight sets as Hogan eliminated George Chanturia easily, 6-2, 6-1. The then-ranked No. 125 Hogan met up with then-No. 22 Andrei Daescu, the Sooners top singles player, in the quarterfinals where the Hog was once more victorious, winning a tight match, 7-5, 6-4.
Last season, the Hogs and Sooners met in Norman, Okla. where the unranked Hogs defeated the then-ranked No. 33 Sooners by the score of 4-3. Oklahoma took the doubles point but Arkansas came back strong in singles, winning four-of-six singles matches behind then-No. 76 Blake Strode at No. 1 singles. The Razorbacks also got singles wins from Matt Hogan at the No. 3 position and Chris Nott playing at No. 4 singles. Dmitry Lebedev came through at No. 6 singles to clinch the match for the Hogs with the two teams tied at three-all.
On Sunday in Austin, the Razorbacks will come up against one of their toughest tests to date. The Longhorns (6-2) are 11-4 in their series with Arkansas, dating back to when the teams faced each other each season in the Southwest Conference and have won eight consecutive matches at home, dating back to last year. Last year in Fayetteville, the Longhorns wasted no time disposing of the Hogs, not dropping a match and winning, 7-0.
This year, Texas returns four All-Americans – senior Miguel Reyes Varela, junior Dimitar Kutrovsky and sophomores Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico from the 2008 team that finished second at the NCAA tournament. The Longhorns, who have four singles players ranked in the top 100 and three doubles teams in the top 60, have already defeated four top 20 opponents this season: then-No. 13 Tulsa, No. 11 Florida State, No. 15 Texas A&M and No. 18 Michigan. The Longhorns suffered their first two losses last weekend to then No. 11 Stanford and No. 6 USC in Chicago, Ill. and the Hogs will have to be at their best if they want a chance to knock off their hosts this weekend.
First serve against Oklahoma is at 3 p.m. on Friday at Dills Indoor Stadium. On Sunday, the Hogs will take the court at Penick-Allison Tennis Center against the Longhorns at 12:30 p.m. For live results from both matches and for complete coverage of Arkansas men’s tennis, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.