CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 45 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team fell to the No. 5 University of Virginia Cavaliers, 7-0, on Friday on the first day of the ITA National Indoor Invite in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia overwhelmed the Hogs, taking the doubles point and clinching the win with three straight wins at No. 5, 4 and 3 singles.“I’m pleased with the way the guys competed today,” head Razorbacks coach Robert Cox said. “but you could tell this was our first match of the spring and it was just a bit too steep of a hill for us to climb at this point in our season. No. 5 Virginia was just too much for the Hogs right out of the gate this season.”
The Razorbacks’ top returners, senior Blake Strode and sophomore Matt Hogan played well for the Hogs, both playing to match tiebreakers at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively. No. 15 Strode and opponent, No. 43 Dominic Inglot, went back and forth throughout the first two sets, each set decided by a tiebreaker. The Hog was victorious in the first set before Inglot came back to take the second.
In the match tiebreaker, the battle continued with Inglot jumping out to a 4-2 lead which Strode then turned to his advantage, winning the next six points and going up 8-4. However, Inglot would not let Strode close the door on the match, coming back to tie the breaker at nine. The two traded points until Inglot made a final push at 11-all to win the tiebreak and the match, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), (13-11).
Hogan took on No. 24 Sanam Singh and the two split the first two sets, forcing a match tiebreak. Hogan, ranked No. 39,was unable to keep up with the impressive Singh in the tiebreak and picked up the loss, 6-2, 3-6, (10-3).
The clinching match of the dual came at No. 3 singles where Chris Nott played a very strong No. 11 Michael Shabaz, who knocked Strode out of the ITA National Indoor Championships in November. Nott took and early break in the first set before Shabaz came back, winning the match and earning the win for the Cavaliers, 7-5, 6-3.
“The top of our lineup played really well again today,” Cox said. “All of them, Blake, Matt and Chris had chances to win, each playing in very close matches.”
In No. 5 singles freshman Nikolas Zogaj struggled against No. 108 Courtney, falling in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. No. 68 Barrick felled Lebedev in the No. 4 position, 6-1, 6-4.
The Hogs and Cavaliers split the first two doubles matches, as Tyler Tarnasky and Bradwin Williams finished their match against No. 27 team of Inglot and Michael Shabaz first, falling 8-0. Dmitry Lebedev and Chris Nott evened the doubles matches at one apiece with Arkansas’ lone win of the day, beating Drew Courtney and Lee Singer, 8-2.
“Chris and Dmitry played awesome doubles,” Cox said. “They really held their own at the No. 3 position and I’m very pleased with them.”
In the final doubles match, the No. 14 duo of Hogan and Strode took a tough loss against the No. 3 team of Singh and Houston Barrick who secured the doubles point for Virginia and gave the Cavaliers a 1-0 edge they would not relinquish.
“We played a bit tight in doubles today but we should be looser tomorrow against Wisconsin,” Cox said.
In their final match of the Invite, the Hogs will take on Wisconsin at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at Boar’s Head at the University of Virginia. For updated results and for complete coverage of Razorback men’s tennis, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
#5 Virginia 7, #46 Arkansas 0January 30, 2009ITA National Indoor InviteCharlottesville, Va.Singles1.#43 Dominic Inglot (UV) def. #15 Blake Strode (UA), 6-7(4), 7-6(5), (13-11)2.#24 Sanam Singh (UV) def. #39 Matt Hogan (UA), 6-2, 3-6 (10-3)*3.#11 Michael Shabaz (UV) def. Chris Nott (UA), 7-5, 6-34.#68 Houston Barrick (UV) def. Dmitry Lebedev (UA), 6-1, 6-45.#108 Drew Courtney (UV) def. Nikolas Zogaj (UA), 6-1, 6-16.#109 Lee Singer (UV) def. Tyler Tarnasky (UA), 6-4, 6-2
Doubles1.#3 Sanam Singh/Houston Barrick (UV) def. #14 Blake Strode/Matt Hogan (UA), 8-42.#27 Dominic Inglot/Michael Shabaz (UV) def. Tyler Tarnasky/Bradwin Williams (UA), 8-03.Dmitry Lebedev/Chris Nott (UA) def. Drew Courtney/Lee Singer (UV), 8-2
Order of Finish:Doubles: 2, 3, 1Singles: 5, 4, 3, 6, 2, 1* – clinching match