FAYETTEVILLE– After a season of great play the University of Arkansas men’s tennis team concluded the fall season at the 2009 Virginia Tech Challenge in Blacksburg, Va. on Sunday. The Razorbacks finished the fall semester strong, winning 84 total matches in both singles and doubles.
“As for the entire fall season, I am very happy,” head coach Robert Cox said. “I am proud of all the guys. We went 84-64 and played a lot of matches against quality players. In the fall, everyday is about getting better and learning. I am extremely proud of the guys hard work.”
This weekend at the 2009 Virginia Tech Challenge, the doubles tandem of Nicholas Spinazze and senior Bradwin Williams were invincible with a 3-0 record in flight four. In the final match, the duo clinched the championship win with an 8-4 victory over Artem Hakeem and Tanner Stump of Mississippi State. In the opening rounds of doubles, Spinazze and Williams defeated Trpimir Kujundzic and Jon Pine of Virginia Tech, 9-7, and Clemson’s Kevin Galloway and Wesley Moran, 8-4.
“All in all we played very well in doubles,” Cox said. “We won two championships and went 10-4 for the weekend. I am very happy with the intensity all our guys commanded on the court.”
Paired together for the first time for Arkansas were Chris Nott and Mike Ward. The duo secured the flight three championship in the final round of doubles with an 8-5 victory over Mississippi State’s Antonio Lastre and Max Gregor Smith. In their earlier doubles matches, Nott and Ward defeated Luka Somen and Corrado Degli Incerti Tocci of Virginia Tech, 9-8(6), and Clemson’s Robert Pietrucha and Zachary Rigsby of Clemson, 8-6.
Williams led the Razorbacks this weekend in flight seven posting a 5-1 record in both singles and doubles. In his match on Sunday, Williams defeated Tanner Stump of Mississippi State in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2. His only loss was to Clemson’s Wesley Moran, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, after defeating Virginia Tech’s Zach Pine, 6-1, 6-4. After dropping in the opening set 1-6, sophomore Nikolas Zogaj forced a third set against Mississippi State and won the match, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4.
“I am very proud of Bradwin,” Cox said. “He continues to play well and take care of business.”
Ward highlighted the tournament with his thrilling 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3) come back win over Clemson’s Galloway Saturday morning. Ward saved matched point to win the valiant fight. Junior Matt Hogan upset Carlos Alvarez of Clemson, ranked No. 80 in the ITA preseason rankings, 6-3, 6-0. Nott also captured a big win over Clemson’s top player Moritz Dettinger, 6-1, 6-1.
“Overall it was not our strongest finish but we are learning and building for the season,” Cox said. “We lost tough three setters that would have changed our attitudes. It is a matter of winning a few crucial points and closing the win in tight matches.”
The Razorbacks lost seven closely contested three set matches over the weekend. Senior Taylor king battled in a three-hour marathon against Clemson’s Rok Bisjak. Bisjak won the third set and the match, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4.
The Arkansas Razorback men’s tennis team saw much success in the fall semester and leading the team with the most wins were standout senior Dmitry Lebedev and Nott. Lebedev finished the season with an overall combined record of 14-6, and Nott finished with a final record of 19-8 in both singles and doubles. Together on the doubles court Nott and Lebedev were triumphant losing only two matches for the 2009 fall semester.
“I could not be more proud of Chris and Dimtry,” Cox said. “They both played amazing tennis throughout the semester and am pleased with how far they have come and their level of play.”
In doubles action, at the D’Novo ITA All-American in Tulsa, Okla., Lebedev and Nott, ranked No. 43 in doubles nationally in the preseason ITA rankings won four-consecutive matches to advance to the round of 16. They fell to the No. 13 ranked duo of Josh Zavala and Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas in a tight match, 8-4.
Fresh off the bench the Razorbacks returned to Tulsa for a strong showing at the ITA Central-Regional Championships, held at the Michael D. Case Center. Five Razorbacks Nott, Hogan, Walters, Ward and Lebedev advanced to the round of 32 in singles play. In the most exciting match of the tournament and a chance to advance to the quarterfinals, Nott was to face Calin Paar of Nebraska. Nott won the first beautifully with his smashing serve and forehand winners but Paar fought back and won the second set, leveling the match at a set apiece. Nott dropped the second set but was able to regroup in the third and won the match, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. He went on to defeat No. 75 ranked David Bendheim of Nebraska, 7-5, 6-3, before falling to the top seed and No. 1 ranked player Oleksander Nedovyesov of OSU, 6-3, 6-4. Nott joined teammate Lebedev on the court for the semifinals but they were eliminated by OSU’s Nedovyesov and Aleksey Bessonov, 8-6.
“Nott and Lebedev had a great tournament run,” Cox said. “Chris pushed the number one player and proved to himself, opponents and his teammates that he can play with anyone.”
For the first time, the Razorbacks found success in Vegas at the Rebel Classic. Walters dropped in the opening round of the tournament but fought back and won the back draw finals. Walters claimed victory over Attila Toth of UNLV, 6-3, 6-2 and claimed 6-4, 6-1, win over Cal Poly’s Jordan Bridge.
“These guys are closing out the season with a lot of experience under their belts and that is going to help win matches in the spring,” Cox said. “We are going to get better and Arkansas men’s tennis looks to a very bright future.”
The Razorbacks will return to action Jan. 17 to kick-off the spring season against the Washington Huskies in Fayetteville. For more information about Razorback visit: www.ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Day 3 Final Results
Flight 1 Singles
No.109 George Coupland (MSU) def. No.94 Chris Nott (UA, 1-2) 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4
Flight 2 Singles
No.83 Artem Ilyushin (MSU) def. Matt Hogan (UA, 1-2) 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
Flight 3 Singles
Louis Cant (MSU) def. Taylor King (UA, 0-3) 6-3, 6-3
Flight 4 Singles
Antonio Lastre (MSU, 2-1) def. Matt Walters (UA, 0-3) 6-3, 6-4
Flight 5 Singles
Nikolas Zogaj (UA, 1-2) def. Max Gregor Smith (MSU, 1-2) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4
Flight 6 Singles
Christopher Doerr (MSU, 3-0) def. Mike Ward (UA, 1-2) 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-1
Flight 7 Singles
Bradwin Williams (UA, 2-1) def. Tanner Stump (MSU, 0-3) 6-2, 7-5
Flight 8 Singles
Hrehan Hakeem (MSU, 1-2) def. Nicholas Spinazze (UA, 0-3) 6-0, 6-4
Flight 1 Doubles
Coupland/ Ilyushin (MSU, 3-0) def. Hogan/ Walters (UA, 1-2) 8-6
Flight two Doubles
Cant/Doerr (MSU) def. King/Zogaj (UA, 0-3) 8-4
Flight three Doubles
Nott/ Ward (UA, 3-0) def. Lastre/Smith (MSU) 8-5, 8-6
Flight four Doubles
Spinazze/Williams (UA, 3-0) def. Hakeem/Stump (MSU) 8-4