BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Arkansas men’s tennis team closed its regular season with a 4-0 loss to LSU (9-10, 4-7) Saturday, finishing the season on a three match losing skid.“It was a tough day for us,” head Razorback coach Robert Cox said. “LSU really jumped on us from the start and we couldn’t dig ourselves out of the holes we got ourselves into.”
The Hogs (10-13, 2-9) failed to secure the doubles point, a key to success this season, as Blake Strode and partner Chris Nott lost to the No. 6 ranked Michael Venus and Neal Skupski at No. 1 doubles, 8-4 before Taylor King and Matt Walters dropped their No. 3 doubles match, 8-5, to Julien Gauthier and Sebastian Gauthier.
Of the Razorbacks’ 13 losses, 12 have come when the team trails after doubles.
In singles, the No. 18 Strode was the only Razorback to take a set from the Tigers, winning the first set of his match with No. 7 ranked Venus. The match was suspended with Strode leading, 6-2, 3-5 when the Tigers clinched the match.
The bottom of Arkansas’ lineup continued its season-long struggles against the Tigers. Freshman Nikolas Zogaj was the first LSU victim, losing, 6-1, 6-3, to Gauthier and Tyler Tarnasky fell at the No. 6 position to Mark Bowtell in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
Playing on Court 4, Skupski clinched the match for the Tigers with a 7-5, 6-3 decision over Dmitry Lebedev.
Nott and Hogan each trailed by a set when Skupski scored his match clinching victory over Lebedev.
With the regular season behind them, the Hogs move on to the Southeastern Conference Championships, heading to Auburn, Ala. for the tournament, April 23-26.
“We have to move forward,” Cox said. “We’re off to the tournament and that’s what we have to focus on now.”
For more information on Arkansas men’s tennis, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
#31 LSU 4, #47 Arkansas 0April 18, 2009Baton Rouge, La.Singles1. #18 Blake Strode (UA) led #7 Michael Venus (LSU), 6-2, 3-5, DNF2. James Cluskey (LSU) led Chris Nott (UA), 6-4, 5-2, DNF3. Sebastian Carlsson (LSU) led Matt Hogan (UA), 6-4, 4-1, DNF4. Neal Skupski (LSU) def. Dmitry Lebedev (UA), 7-5, 6-35. Julien Gauthier (LSU) def. Nikolas Zogaj (UA), 6-1, 6-36. Mark Bowtell (LSU) def. Tyler Tarnasky (UA), 6-3, 6-1
Doubles1. #6 Michael Venus/Neal Skupski (LSU) def. Blake Strode/Chris Nott (UA), 8-42. Matt Hogan/Dmitry Lebedev (UA) led. Johnathan Tragardh/James Cluskey (LSU), 5-4, DNF3. Julien Gauthier/James Carlsson (LSU) def. Taylor King/Matt Walters (UA), 8-5
Order of Finish:Doubles: 1, 3* Singles: 5, 6, 4*