FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It was a long day of tennis for the No. 46 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team, as they took on No. 57 Oklahoma at Dills Indoor Stadium on Friday.
The Razorbacks (6-2) and Sooners (4-3) stayed on the court for four and a half hours before the match was finally decided at No. 6 singles, where sophomore Tyler Tarnasky defeated Blake Boswell in a three set showdown, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the 5-2 victory for Arkansas.
The Hogs threw aside the sideline curtain and rushed the court when the chair umpire on court five ruled Tarnasky’s last serve an ace, giving the Hogs the win. Tarnasky’s doubles partner and roommate, Bradwin Williams, vaulted over the net to congratulate his friend amidst the yells from the other players and the fans.
“Tyler did a great job to come back after losing the first set,” head Arkansas coach Robert Cox said. “Tyler is a bulldog out on the court. He’s a team favorite and has that Hog spirit and mentality it takes to come back in a match like that and win.”
The match started with a doubles point behind Chris Nott and Dmitry Lebedev at No. 2 doubles, beating OU’s Andrei Daescu and George Chanturia, 8-3. The No. 40 team of Blake Strode and Matt Hogan suffered their third dual match loss of the season, falling 8-5 to Sergey Avdeyev and Ionut Beleleu.
However, Tarnasky and Williams secured the doubles point with their 8-6 win, playing against Boswell and David Pultr.
“What a great college tennis match tonight,” Cox said. “These teams are evenly matched and both teams played very very well. I was very proud of our guys and how every one of them played a complete match. It was definitely a team win for us tonight.”
Once on the singles court, the two teams engaged each other in the closest match to be played at Dills Indoor Stadium this season.
No. 16 Strode got past Avdeyev easily, 6-2, 6-2, and the Sooners’ Chanturia dismissed Williams almost as quickly at No. 5 singles, 6-2, 6-3.
Outside of the quick matches on courts one and five, the Razorbacks fought for each point, as three of the remaining four matches went to three sets.
“Playing in front of the home crowd was very important,” Cox said. “The crowd and our ability to win the doubles point were huge for us.”
Playing at No. 3 singles, No. 70 Hogan won his first set against Pultr before going to a second set tiebreak. The Hog pulled ahead 4-1 in the breaker before Pultr turned up the heat, making the score, 5-4. Not to be undone, Hogan found his composure and took the next two points to win the set and the match, 7-5, 7-6(4).
Against Beleleu on court four, Lebedev dashed from one side of the court to the other, chasing down balls and forcing the Sooner to chase a number of balls himself. In the end though, Beleleu pulled out the three set win, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
Nott, playing in the longest match of the night, was down a break in the third set to No. 59 Daescu but came back to tie the set at 5-5, just as Tarnasky clinched his win on court five. The Hogs’ clinching win at No. 5 took some wind out of Daescu who immediately dropped serve again to Nott, allowing the Razorback to serve for the win, which he claimed, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Next, the Hogs head down to Austin, Texas to face the No. 8 Longhorns on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. For live stats from the Razorbacks’ matches and for complete coverage of Arkansas men’s tennis, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
#46 Arkansas 5, #57 Oklahoma 2February 20, 2009Fayetteville, Ark.
Singles1.#16 Blake Strode (UA) def. Sergey Avdeyev (OU), 6-2, 6-22.Chris Nott (UA) def. #59 Andrei Daescu (OU), 2-6, 6-3, 7-53.#70 Matt Hogan (UA) def. David Pultr (OU), 7-5, 7-6(4)4.Ionut Beleleu (OU) def. Dmitry Lebedev (UA), 6-3, 1-6, 6-35.George Chanturia (OU) def. Bradwin Williams (UA), 6-2, 6-36.Tyler Tarnasky (UA) def. Blake Boswell (OU), 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Doubles1.Sergey Avdeyev/Ionut Beleleu (OU) def. #40 Blake Strode/Matt Hogan (UA), 8-52.Chris Nott/Dmitry Lebedev (UA) def. Andrei Daescu/George Chanturia (OU), 8-33.Tyler Tarnasky/Bradwin Williams (UA) def. David Pultr/Blake Boswell (OU), 8-6
Order of FinishDoubles: 2, 1, 3Singles: 1, 6, 3, 4, 5*, 2*-clinching match