AUBURN, Ala. – Five Razorbacks picked up singles victories and three of the Hogs’ doubles teams walked away with wins against LSU on the first day of the Auburn Spring Classic on Friday. “Today was a good start to our spring,” head Razorbacks coach Robert Cox said. “Going forward, we have to build on today’s results and continue to play strong.”
The Hogs top singles player, No. 15 Blake Strode, fought through a three set battle with Sebastian Carlsson in Flight 1 of the morning session to earn his first victory of the spring, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. In Flight 2 sophomore Matt Hogan, ranked No. 39, also played three sets, beating James Cluskey 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
Dmitry Lebedev faced a tiebreak in his first set facing the Tigers’ Neal Skupski. Lebedev won the tiebreak and pulled away in the second set, winning the match, 7-6(7), 6-1. Hogs Chris Nott and Taylor King dismissed their opponents in straight sets as well. Nott defeated Julien Gauthier 6-3, 6-4 and King took down John Tragardh 6-4, 6-2.
“I’m really pleased with the way everyone played today on the singles courts,” Cox said. “We’ll look to continue playing with the same intensity throughout the weekend.”
The Tigers bested three Hogs on the first day of the three day event, Tyler Tarnasky falling to Mark Bowtell in two sets, 6-3, 6-4 and Bradwin Williams came close to evening his match against Ryan Lissner in the second set before Lissner picked up the 6-3, 7-5 victory. Newcomer Nikolas Zogaj was the final Hog to fall in singles on the day, losing to David Roberts, 7-5, 6-4.
In doubles, the Razorbacks won three of four matches, their one loss coming in Flight 1 where the No. 14 duo of Hogan and Strode lost to Cluskey and Gauthier, 8-6. In Flight 2, the Tigers’ team of Skupski and Bowtell matched King and Nott throughout the match, but the Hogs played solidly, earning themselves a 9-7 win.
Tarnasky and Williams also faced a close match, in Flight 3, against Carlsson and partner Tragardh before gritting out the win, 9-7. Lebedev partnered with freshman Zogaj in Flight 4 to post the Razorbacks fourth doubles win of the day over the team of Lissner and Roberts, burying the Tigers 8-0.
On Saturday, the Hogs will match up against Auburn at 2 p.m. at the City of Auburn/Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center. For updated results and for complete coverage of Arkansas men’s tennis, log onto ArkansasRazorbacks.com.