Auburn, Ala.— The Arkansas Razorbacks men’s tennis team fought in a lengthy four-hour battle Friday evening at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn, Ala. Arkansas was on the cusp of victory but fell in an epic 4-3 battle to the Tigers.
In doubles action, going strong on court two was the doubles team of Matthew Hogan and Matt Walters with a 8-6 win over Andreas Mies and Michel Monteiro. At the top of the lineup, Christopher Nott and Dmitry Lebedevlooked to upset the No. 10-ranked duo of Tim Puetz and Alex Stamchev. The Arkansas duo battled but eventually fell, 8-5. The Tigers clinched the doubles point with a win at the No. 3 position as Tim Hewitt and Lucas Lopasso topped Gregoire Lehmann and Mike Ward, 8-4.
It was onto singles play as the Tigers edged a 2-0 lead with the first singles victory of the day on court three. Arkansas’ Hogan fell to No. 107 Stamchev, 6- 3, 6-0. Walters was the next to pin up a straight-set victory with his smooth 6-4, 6-2 win over Oliver Strecker. His win kicked started the Hogs momentum as Arkansas gained the lead with wins on court six and court one.
At the No. 6 position, Ward easily captured the first set but Monteiro fought back however to tie the second set at five-all. The resilient freshman took the initiative and snatched the second set and the match, 6-1, 7-6. Soon after on the top court, No. 60 Nott worked past the highly touted No. 20 Puetz 6-3, 7-5 lifting the Hogs ahead 3-2 with two matches remaining. Nott earned his fourth ranked win of the season and improved to an overall record of 18-10 on the season.
At the No. 4 singles position, Auburn’s Lucas Lopasso tied the score at three-all with a third set win over Lehmann, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3. Both teams now turned to the only court left in action as Lebedev and Hewitt battled through sweat and tears in a dueling three-set match left to make the final decision. Hewitt stole the first set but a revitalized Lebedev fought back to force an enticing third set encounter. The final set was a tense conflict but Lebedev fell in a heartbreaking third set, 6- 3, 3-6, 6-3.
Arkansas will return on the hunt against No. 33 Alabama on Sunday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. First serve is set for 1 p.m.
Auburn 4 Arkansas 3
Order of Finish: 3,5,6,4,1,2*4
No. 60 Christopher Nott (UA) def. No. 20 Tim Puetz (AU) 6-3, 7- 5
Tim Hewitt (AU) def. Dmitry Lebedev (UA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
#107 Alex Stamchev (AU) def. Matthew Hogan (UA) 6-3, 6-0
Lucas Lopasso (AU) def. Gregoire Lehmann (UA) 6-3, 6-0, 6-3
Matt Walters (UA) def. Oliver Strecker (AU) 6-4, 6-2
Mike Ward (UA) def. Michel Monteiro (AU) 6-1, 7-6
Order of finish: 3,1*,2
No. 10 Puetz/Stamchev (AU) def. No. 68 Nott/Lebedev (UA) 8-5
Walters/Hogan (UA) def. Andreas Mies/Monteiro (AU) 8-6
Hewitt/Lopasso (AU) def. Lehmann/Ward 8-4