AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 47 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team will face No. 12 Kentucky in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament Thursday.The Razorbacks (10-13, 2-9) dropped their regular season match to the Wildcats (16-9, 6-5) in Lexington, Ky. last month, 6-1. No. 14 Blake Strode posted Arkansas’ loan win on the day, defeating then-No. 2 Bruno Agostinelli in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0).
Thursday, Strode will attempt to beat Agostinelli once again to earn his 94th career singles victory. A win would tie him for the fifth-most singles wins in Arkansas history.
The Hogs will lean on Strode and others at the top of the singles lineup against the Cats. The top four spots in the lineup, primarily made up of Strode, Chris Nott, Matt Hogan and Dmitry Lebedev, went a combined 53-33 (.612) in the regular season.
Since the Hogs and Cats last meeting, Razorbacks coach Robert Cox has revamped his doubles lineup, breathing new life into the stagnant Hogs. Still playing at No. 1 doubles, Strode now partners with Nott and the duo has given scares to two top 10 teams in the last few weeks. Hogan is teaming with Lebedev and the two have gone 3-1 in dual play and led, 5-4, in their match at LSU last weekend when play was suspended. Taylor King and Matt Walters have been inserted into the lineup at the No. 3 position.
The new doubles lineup will play a large part in Arkansas’ success against Kentucky as the Razorbacks finished the season 10-1 when earning the doubles point but went 0-12 when trailing after doubles.
The Hogs and Cats take the court at 3 p.m. (CST) on Thursday at the Yarbrough Tennis Center on the Auburn University campus.
For more information and for complete coverage of the Razorbacks from the SEC tournament, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
For complete coverage of all the SEC tournament action, visit AuburnTigers.com.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE Thursday, April 23 11 a.m. Match 1: #9 South Carolina vs. #8 LSU 11 a.m. Match 2: #12 Vanderbilt vs. #5 Alabama 3 p.m. Match 3: #11 Arkansas vs. #6 Kentucky3 p.m. Match 4: #10 Mississippi State vs. #7 AuburnFriday, April 24 11 a.m. Match 5: Winner Match 1 vs. #1 Ole Miss 11 a.m. Match 6: Winner Match 2 vs. #4 Florida3 p.m. Match 7: Winner Match 3 vs. #3 Tennessee3 p.m. Match 8: Winner Match 4 vs. #2 Georgia Saturday, April 25 11 a.m. Match 9: Winner Match 5 vs. Winner Match 6 3 p.m. Match 10: Winner Match 7 vs. Winner Match 8 Sunday, April 26 1 p.m. Championship Winner Match 9 vs. Winner Match 10