FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 59 Arkansas Razorbacks will take on a pair of SEC foes this weekend, as No. 32 Vanderbilt (11-8, 3-5 SEC) will visit George M. Billingsley Center at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow before the Hogs face top-ranked Kentucky (17-7, 5-3 SEC) on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Last time out, Arkansas dropped a pair of tough road matches to Alabama and Auburn. Against Auburn, No. 60 Christopher Nott bested the No. 20 Tim Puetz in a straight set victory, 6-4, 7-5. Arkansas continued to fight as sophomore Matt Walters and freshman Mike Ward, both picked up wins at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions but it was not enough and the team lost in a heartbreak match against the Tigers, 4-3. Next Arkansas battled a strong Alabama team and fell, 4-0.
“We had a tough weekend on the road, “ head coach Robert Cox said. “ We had chances against Auburn, came down to the last match at No. 2 and lost 6-3 in the third set. We were right in there and about to upset Auburn but have to be consistent in all six courts in singles.“
Arkansas is ready to come out aggressive and play in front of a home crowd this weekend.
The Hogs, climbed to sixth on the leaderboard in the latest ITA Attendance Challenge standings released on Monday with an overall attendance of 2,165 for the season. After ten games this season at the George M. Billingsley and Dills Indoor Tennis Center, the Hogs average 270 fans per game, earning Arkansas a spot in the top 5 nationally.
“We are excited about closing out conference play at home,” Cox said. “With three good SEC matches at home left on the schedule we can finish strong. We just have to be consistent all the way down.”
First up on the Hogs’ hunt will be the Commodores, who are coming off a 6-1 victory over South Carolina. The Commodores are led by the freshman Ryan Lipman, ranked No. 37 with an SEC record of 4-4 at the No. 1 singles position. Also listed in the ranking is senior Vijay Paul at No. 114 in the country.
On Sunday morning, The Hogs will welcome the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats to the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center. Kentucky took a break from conference play and defeated No. 13 Illinois on Wednesday, 4-3. At the No. 3 position, Brad Cox upset No. 57 Marek Czerwinkski in a third set to clinch the a 4-3 win for the Wildaca. Kentucky’s defeat against Illinois extended the Wildcat’s wins over top-16 teams to their fifth of the year. The front-runner for Kentucky is Eric Quigley at the top of the lineup, ranked at No. 13 in both singles and doubles with partner Brad Cox.
Arkansas will set serve against Vanderbilt at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, before a matchup against Kentucky on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville. Free Pizza will be available immediatley following the doubles point. For complete coverage and live stats on this weekend matches and the Arkansas Razorbacks men’s tennis team visit: ArkansasRazorbacks.com.