COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 25 Arkansas held off a hard-nosed Michigan squad, 4-1, in the first round of the NCAA Tennis Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Jesse Owens West Tennis Center in Columbus, Ohio.
The Razorbacks, seeded second in the Columbus Regional, advance to take on top seed and sixth-ranked Ohio St. (26-1) in the second round Sunday at 11 a.m., central.
The win gives the Hogs (18-10) their highest season win total since 1989, when UA went 19-8. It is also the sixth time in their past seven appearances the Razorbacks have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Matt Roberts battled to win a third-set tiebreaker, 13-11, over Ryan Heller to clinch the Razorback win.
The Hogs won the doubles point for the first time since April 7 at Auburn. Arkansas improves to 13-0 this season when winning doubles.
Razorback Coach Robert Cox used three new doubles lineups Saturday, and it paid off as the Hogs snapped a six-match streak in which they lost doubles.
After Michigan (14-12) claimed the doubles contest at No. 1, Roberts and sophomore Colin Mascall defeated Heller and Andrew Mazlin at No. 2 doubles, 8-4. Senior Adrians Zguns and freshman Austin King notched a 8-6 victory over Peter Aarts and Scott Bruckmann at No. 3, clinching doubles and giving the Hogs a 1-0 advantage.
After doubles, rain forced the match indoors. Freshman Blake Strode rolled to a, 6-4, 6-2, triumph over Mazlin at No. 4. Senior Rohan Gajjar put the Razorbacks ahead 3-0 with his, 6-3, 6-4, win over Brian Hung at No. 2. Zguns lost a three-set contest with Matko Maravic at No. 1, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.
With matches at Nos. 5 and 6 delayed because of the Owens Center having just four courts, Roberts was in a third-set battle with Heller at No. 3. Roberts trailed 5-4, but fought to force a tiebreaker. Heller fought off four tiebreakers and Roberts two, before Roberts broke Heller to clinch the Razorback win, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11).
Roberts improves his record to 28-9 this season, moving him into a tie for seventh on the school’s single season wins list. Strode’s victory runs his season tally to 27-6, placing him in a tie for 11th on the single season wins chart. Gajjar improves to 22-8 this season, and has won five of his past six matches. Zguns falls to 24-11 on the year.
Arkansas and Ohio St. have played twice in their history, with the Buckeyes leading the series 2-0. Ohio St. defeated the Razorbacks, 4-0, in the 2003 NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky., and also won the 2005 meeting, 5-2, in Columbus.
The Buckeyes are the Big Ten Champions, and have won 41 consecutive home matches entering Sunday.
The UA-OSU match is set for 11 a.m., central time, outdoors at the Stickney Tennis Center. If inclement weather arises, the match will be moved indoors to the Jesse Owens West Tennis Center. Log on to www.hogwired.com to follow live stats of Sunday’s matchup.
Arkansas 4, Michigan 1
May 13, 2006
NCAA Tournament First Round
1. #12 Brian Hung/Matko Maravic (UM) def. Rohan Gajjar/Blake Strode (AR), 8-4
2. Colin Mascall/Matt Roberts (AR) def. Ryan Heller/Andrew Mazlin (UM), 8-4
3. Austin King/Adrians Zguns (AR) def. Peter Aarts/Scott Bruckmann (UM), 8-6
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3
1. #43 Matko Maravic (UM) def. #17 Adrians Zguns (AR), 1-6, 6-2, 6-1
2. #118 Rohan Gajjar (AR) def. Brian Hung (UM), 6-3, 6-4
3. #74 Matt Roberts (AR) def. Ryan Heller (UM), 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (11)
4. #121 Blake Strode (AR) def. Andrew Mazlin (UM), 6-4, 6-2
5. Colin Mascall (AR) vs. Steve Peretz (UM), 5-4 dnf
6. Michael Jung (AR) vs. Peter Aarts (UM), 3-3 dnf
Order of Finish: 4, 2, 1, 3