FAYETTEVILLE — After dropping its first match of the season to Purdue on Friday, the 72nd-ranked Razorback men’s tennis team came out firing on all cylinders Sunday afternoon to defeat Stetson, 6-1, in the Billingsley Tennis Center. Junior Hall Fess and senior Matt Walters were doubles winners yet again as they won their 13th match of the year and fifth straight to open dual season.
“It was good that the guys bounced back,” head coach Robert Cox said. “I think we learned so many valuable lessons on Friday. Our doubles continued to play well and if we can do that each and every week, we could go far this season. We’re a blue collar team with no big stars, but I’m glad our guys fought hard and it has been a long weekend. They fought hard and I was really please. Stetson is a good team and it was a big challenge today. Our guys learned today and took a step forward.”
Trying to win their sixth doubles point in six matches, the Hogs got a nice jump start from Fess and Walters, who defeated Njal Stene and Didrek Berg, 8-2 at court one. The surprise of the doubles matches came at court three as sophomore Mike Nott and freshman Victor Hoang teamed together for the first time this dual season and actually matched court one point for point. Nott and Hoang dominated their match with Nathan Debut and Hans Adrian Riseng to win 8-2 and give Arkansas the early 1-0 lead.
Being a non-conference match the final doubles court was played out and the Hogs looked to go for the doubles sweep for the first time this year. Junior Gregoire Lehmann and senior Nikolas Zogaj were locked in a tough one with Chester Espie and Maksim Levanovich, but after eventually breaking the Hatters’ serve, Lehmann and Zogaj were able to keep the two game lead at the conclusion for the 8-6 win and the doubles sweep. The win for the duo is their third of the year and moves them to 3-2 this dual season.
Being in familiar territory with the doubles point in hand, Arkansas looked to not have a letdown like they did on Friday night and got things off to a quick start with a win at court five. In his first dual singles action since the spring opener, Fess defeated Espie in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to move to 2-0 for the spring. That win was followed by another quick match at court six, where Hoang looked right at home in what was also his second dual action of the season. He defeated Jacobo Herrero in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, to push the Hog lead to 3-0.
Needing only one more singles victory to earn its sixth win of the year, Arkansas called upon Walters to lead the way at court three. The Jonesboro native defeated Berg, 6-3, 6-4 to move to 6-0 this spring and clinch Arkansas’ victory. Walters remains the only Hog player this spring to have not lost a match after playing in at least six of the team’s first seven matches.
The Razorbacks added two more wins after the clinching point at courts two and four. Lehmann gutted out a tough three-setter with Stene at the two spot for his fourth win of the year and junior Mike Ward won a very well-played match with Riseng, 7-6(8), 6-1 for his third of the spring season.
Arkansas hits the road for its next matchup as they will travel to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane on Friday at 6 p.m. Its next home match will open conference season against Vanderbilt on March 2 at 1 p.m.
#72 Arkansas 6
Complete Doubles Results
Order of Finish: 1, 3*, 2
No. 1 Hall Fess/Matt Walters (ARK) def. Njal Stene/Didrik Berg (STET)
No. 2 Gregoire Lehmann/Nikolas Zogaj (ARK) def. Chester Espie/Maksim Levanovich (STET)
No. 3 Mike Nott/Victor Hoang (ARK) def. Nathan Debut/Hans Adrian Riseng (STET)
Complete Singles Results
Order of Finish: 5, 6, 3*, 2, 4, 1
No. 1 Maksim Levanovich (STET) def. Nikolas Zogaj (ARK)
No. 2 Gregoire Lehmann (ARK) def. Njal Stene (STET)
5-7, 6-4, 1-0(6)
5-7, 6-4, 1-0(6)
No. 3 Matt Walters (ARK) def. Didrik Berg (STET)
No. 4 Mike Ward (ARK) def. Hans Adrian Riseng (STET)
No. 5 Hall Fess (ARK) def. Chester Espie (STET)
No. 6 Victor Hoang (ARK) def. Jacobo Herrero (STET)