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Hog Netters Downed by Tennessee

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Hog Netters Downed by Tennessee
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ road struggles continued Friday, as the 49th-ranked Razorbacks lost, 5-2, at No. 21 Tennessee.

The match marked the sixth consecutive road contest for the Hogs, 2-7 overall and 0-3 in SEC play. Each of those six matches and all of UA’s seven defeats have been against nationally ranked opponents. UT improved to 7-2 and 3-0 in the SEC.

“We played a good, competitive match today,” Razorback Coach Robert Cox said, “We’re getting better and I’m proud of the way we played and our improvement.

“We had a chance to win the doubles’ point, but we lost two tough matches, then we had to move indoors on four courts for singles. We felt good about our chances early in three of the top four singles matches.”

After Tennessee took the doubles’ point and a 1-0 advantage, the weather forced singles indoors. Arkansas took two of the first three singles’ finishes, evening the score, 2-2. Razorback junior Matt Roberts cruised to a 6-1, 6-3, win over the Volunteers’ Ockie Oosthuizen on the No. 3 singles’ court. At No. 1 singles, UA’s 98th-ranked junior Rohan Gajjar was defeated by No. 43 Mark Dietrich, 6-3, 7-6. Hog junior Adrians Zguns then posted a straight-set win over Bobby Cameron, 7-6, 6-4.

Roberts boosted his spring record to 5-4, and his overall mark to 18-6. Gajjar is now 6-3 and 16-7, while Zguns bettered his record to 5-4 and 10-8.

UA sophomore Andrei Nicoara saw his first singles’ action of the spring following a 5-4 fall. Nicoara, who has played several doubles’ matches this spring, lost at No. 6 to UT’s Ben Rogers, 6-1, 6-1. Leading 3-2, the Vols clinched the match when Arkansas freshman Jimmy Khougassian fell 6-1, 6-4 to Kaden Hensel, at No. 5. Razorback senior Imraan Ismail lost his third consecutive three-set setback at No.4, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, to Kiril Tcherveniachki.

“We’ve still got to find answers at our number five and six spots,” Cox said,

In doubles, Arkansas’ No. 2 team of Roberts and Ismail fell, 8-3, to UT’s Dietrich and Morgan Wilson. The Hogs had chances in the two other doubles’ contests, but lost the point when senior Talley Parker and Freshman Michael Jung lost at No.3 doubles to Cameron and Hensel. The Hogs lost a tiebreaker at No.1 as Zguns and Gajjar dropped a 9-8 decision to Tennessee’s 8th-ranked combo of Oosthuizen and Rogers.

“It’s time for us to recover and get ready for Georgia,” Cox said, “because it does not get any easier.”

Next up for Arkansas is No. 6 Georgia, who defeated 17th-ranked LSU Friday. The Razorbacks and Bulldogs are scheduled for a 1 p.m. match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Following Sunday’s match, the Razorbacks take nine days off before heading to Las Vegas, Nev., March 22, to take on No. 71 UNLV.

The match with the Rebels ends the Hogs’ eight-match road trip, and UA returns to Fayetteville March 25 for their SEC home opener against 40th-ranked Vanderbilt at 1:30 p.m. at the UA Tennis Complex.

No. 21 Tennessee 5
No. 49 Arkansas 2

Doubles
1. Oosthuizen/Rogers (UT) def. Zguns/Gajjar (UA), 9-8
2. Dietrich/Wilson (UT) def. Ismail/Roberts (UA), 8-3
3. Cameron/Hensel (UT) def. Parker/Jung (UA), 8-6
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1

Singles
1. #43 Mark Dietrich (UT) def. #98 Rohan Gajjar (UA), 6-3, 7-6
2. Adirans Zguns (UA) def. Bobby Cameron (UT), 7-6, 6-4
3. Matt Roberts (UA) def. Ockie Oosthuizen (UT), 6-1, 6-3
4. Kiril Tcherveniachki (UT) def. Imraan Ismail (UA), 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
5. Kaden Hensel (UT) def. Jimmy Khougassian (UA), 6-1, 6-4
6. Ben Rogers (UT) def. Andrei Nicoara (UA), 6-1, 6-1
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2, 6, 5*, 4



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