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Hog Netters Upset at South Carolina

Hog Netters Upset at South Carolina
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks saw three marathon singles’ matches go to South Carolina, and the 55th-ranked Gamecocks handed the No. 38 Hogs their fifth straight loss of the season.

The match was the Southeastern Conference opener for both the Razorbacks (2-5, 0-1 SEC) and Gamecocks (10-3, 1-0 SEC).

“We just couldn’t put it all together today,” Coach Robert Cox said, “Our guys are fighting hard and I’m proud of our effort. We’re just coming up a little short of putting a full team effort together.”

The Gamecocks came out hot in doubles competition. At No. 2 doubles, Razorback junior Matt Roberts and senior Imraan Ismail were knocked off by USC’s Tom Eklund and Jaime Cuellar, 8-3. USC clinched the doubles point with a win at No. 1 doubles. UA’s team of juniors Rohan Gajjar and Adrians Zguns fell to 4-3 on the season with a 8-6 setback to the Gamecocks’ Pedro Rodrigues and Geraldo Knorr. The match at No. 3 doubles between Arkansas’ pair of senior Talley Parker and sophomore Andrei Nicoara and USC’s Ben Atkinson and Dmitry Babenko was suspended with the Gamecocks leading 7-6.

The Hogs answered quickly in singles. Roberts stormed to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Knorr at No. 3. The 72nd-ranked Roberts, a native of Little Rock, improved his record to 4-3 on the spring and 17-5 combined in the fall and spring seasons. USC’s lone ranked player, No. 69 Eklund, earned a point for the Gamecocks with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Zguns at No. 1. Zguns is also now 4-3 for the spring, with all of his losses coming to ranked players. UA’s 63rd-ranked Gajjar bumped his record to 5-2 for the spring and 15-6 overall by defeating Rodrigues at No. 2, 6-4, 6-1. Gajjar’s win evened the overall match at two apiece.

The remaining three matches each were decided in the third set. Ismail forced a third set with Cuellar, but fell at No. 4, 7-6, 2-6, 6-0. Razorback freshman Michael Jung, playing singles for the first time in a dual meet, easily took the first set from Atkinson, but USC clinced the match with Atkinson’s triumph at No. 6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Sophomore Matt Simpson, coming off his first win of the spring last Sunday at Texas, also went into a third set but was beaten by Babenko, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

“We’ve really got to circle the wagons now,” Cox said, “We’ve got to be ready to go at Florida on Sunday, and we have to be a little tougher.”

Arkansas continues its’ road trip at No. 7 Florida Sunday. The Hogs and Gators are set for a 1 p.m. first serve in Gainesville.

Final Score:
#38 Arkansas 2
#55 South Carolina 5

1. Rodrigues/Knorr (SC) def. Zguns/Gajjar (ARK) 8-6
2. Eklund/Cuellar (SC) def. Ismail/Roberts (ARK) 8-3
3. Atkinson/Babenko (SC) v Parker/Nicoara (ARK) 7-6 (susp.)
South Carolina wins doubles point
Order of Completion: 2, 1

1. Tom Eklund (SC) def. Adrians Zguns (ARK) 6-4, 6-2
2. #63 Rohan Gajjar (ARK) def. Pedro Rodrigues (SC) 6-4, 6-1
3. #72 Matt Roberts (ARK) def. Geraldo Knorr (SC) 6-1, 6-2
4. Jaime Cuellar (SC) def. Imraan Ismail (ARK) 7-6(7), 2-6, 6-0
5. Dmitry Babenko (SC) def. Matt Simpson (ARK) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
*6. Ben Atkinson (SC) def. Michael Jung (ARK) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Order of Completion: 3, 1, 2, 4, 6, 5
* Clinched Match

Time of Match: 3:24

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