BENTONVILLE, Ark. – No. 22 Arkansas closed its regular season Tuesday, falling, 4-3, to No. 21 Oklahoma St. at the Wal-Mart Tennis Center in Bentonville.
The Razorbacks, who moved up three spots to No. 22 in this week’s FILA/ITA Rankings, finish the regular season 16-9, and head into this weekend’s SEC Tournament as the No. 6 seed out of the league, after posting a 6-5 conference mark.
Oklahoma St. (14-4) won an evenly matched doubles point. Arkansas’ pair of Colin Mascall and Austin King got the Hogs off to a good start with a, 8-6, win over Juan Felipe Diaz and Ivan Puchkarov at No. 3. The Cowboys took the match at No. 1, as the OSU team of brothers Daniel and Nathan Byrnes won a tiebreaker over UA’s Matt Roberts and Rohan Gajjar, 9-8 (7). The decisive doubles match was at No. 2, where the Hogs’ Adrians Zguns and Blake Strode battled back from down 6-1, but could finish the rally, losing, 8-6, to Artsem Burmistrau and Tomas Bohunicky.
Arkansas is now 4-9 when dropping the doubles point. The Razorbacks previous two wins, over Oklahoma and LSU, came after losing the doubles point.
The Razorbacks dug themselves a deeper hole in singles, as the Cowboys claimed the matches on courts three and six, giving OSU a 3-0 advantage. The Razorbacks won the first set in each of the four remaining matches. Gajjar tallied his 20th win of the season, 6-3, 6-3, over Bohunicky at No. 2. Gajjar improves to 20-8 on the season and 15-5 in dual matches.
Mascall was serving for the match in the second set, 5-4, but could not hold off Burmistrau, falling, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-0, giving OSU the dual victory.
Zguns’ notched his third consecutive win, defeating 14th-ranked Daniel Byrnes, 7-5, 6-4, at No. 1. The victory is the 102nd of Zguns’ UA career, and moves him ahead of Oskar Johansson for third on the Arkansas career wins list. Zguns three-match win streak has come against three ranked opponents, and the senior has defeated top-25 players in each of last two outings.
Strode continued a win streak of his own, running his total to eight straight triumphs with a, 7-5, 7-6 (5), victory of Diaz at No. 4. Strode has won 11 of his last 13. The freshman now has 25 wins on the season and is a team-best 17-3 in dual matches
Arkansas opens play in the SEC Tournament Thursday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Razorbacks are the tournament’s No. 6 seed, and will face 11th-seed Vanderbilt in the first round Thursday at 10 a.m. at the University of Alabama Tennis Complex.
#21 Oklahoma St. 4, #22 Arkansas 3
April 18, 2006
1. #51 Daniel Byrnes/Nathan Byrnes (OSU) def. Matt Roberts/Rohan Gajjar (AR), 9-8 (7)
2. Artsem Burmistrau/Tomas Bohunicky (OSU) def. #59 Adrians Zguns/Blake Strode (AR), 8-6
3. Colin Mascall/Austin King (AR) def. Juan Felipe Diaz/Ivan Puchkarov (OSU), 8-6
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. #19 Adrians Zguns (AR) def. #14 Daniel Byrnes (OSU), 7-5, 6-4
2. Rohan Gajjar (AR) def. Tomas Bohunicky (OSU), 6-3, 6-3
3. #92 Ivan Puchkarov (OSU) def. #72 Matt Roberts (AR), 6-3, 6-4
4. Blake Strode (AR) def. Juan Felipe Diaz (OSU), 7-5, 7-6 (5)
5. Artsem Burmistrau (OSU) def. Colin Mascall (AR), 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-0
6. Olexsander Kotsiuk (OSU) def. Austin King (AR), 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: 3, 6, 2, 5*, 1, 4