NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After dropping their last four matches, the No. 53 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team picked up their second win over a ranked opponent on Sunday, defeating the No. 39 Vanderbilt Commodores (4-10, 0-4), 4-3 at the Curry Tennis Center.“It was a good SEC match for us,” head Razorback coach Robert Cox said. “We always play Vandy in matches that end in a score of 4-3 and today was no different. It was a great college match for both teams.”
Struggling in doubles over the last two weeks, the Razorbacks (7-7, 1-3) came out strong, winning the doubles point behind No. 1 team Chris Nott and Dmitry Lebedev and the No. 60-ranked duo of Matt Hogan and Blake Strode on Court 2. The Hogs are 7-0 this season when winning the doubles point.
The Southeastern Conference foes split the doubles matches at the No. 3 and No. 2 positions and Nott and Lebedev faced match point on Court 1 against the national-No. 30 team of Adam Baker and partner Alex Zotov but the Hogs would prevail, 9-8(8), clinching a 1-0 lead for Arkansas heading into singles play. It was Nott and Lebedev’s second win over a top 30 team this season.
“The doubles point was huge,” Cox said. “We were down a couple of match points during doubles and the guys fought back hard and got the edge for us. I’m really proud of them for fighting back like they did.”
Once on the singles court, the Commodores mounted a comeback, beginning with Zotov’s win over Hog Tyler Tarnasky, 6-4, 6-0, in the first completed singles match of the day. Lebedev also found himself on the losing end of a straight sets match, falling, 6-1, 7-6(7) to Charlie Jones.
“I think all our matches were close today, win or lose,” Cox said. “The wins we got were four very solid points for us.”
On Court 6, Bradwin Williams quickly took the first set from opponent Alex DiValerio but the Dore would come back to take the final two sets and the win, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Although convincing in the first set of the match at No. 1 singles, the No. 15 Strode bobbled the second set against Vanderbilt’s Nick Cromydas but emerged as the victor in the third set, taking the match, 6-2, 0-6, 6-3.
Impressive once again in singles, Nott bagged a win at No. 2 singles over Vijay Paul on Sunday, winning, 6-4, 6-3.
Tied at three all, Hogan and Baker battled out the deciding match on Court 3. After splitting the first two sets, the Razorback dug in during the third set to secure the win for Arkansas, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 and bringing the team back to .500 on the season.
“Hogan really pulled through at the end to close the door on Vandy,” Cox said. “I’m very pleased with the way all of them played out there today. It was a good SEC win for us.”
Next Sunday, catch the Razorbacks at home, hosting UMKC and Oral Roberts in a doubleheader starting at 10 a.m. at the Billingsley Tennis Center with a match against the UMKC Kangaroos. The Razorbacks’ regional match with Oral Roberts will follow at 5:30 p.m.
For updated and complete coverage of Arkansas men’s tennis, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
#53 Arkansas 4, #39 Vanderbilt 3March 15, 2009Nashville, Tenn.Singles1. #15 Blake Strode (UA) def. Nick Cromydas (VU), 6-2, 0-6, 6-32. Chris Nott (UA) def. Vijay Paul (VU), 6-4, 6-33. #120 Matt Hogan (UA) def. Adam Baker (VU), 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-34. Charlie Jones (VU) def. Dmitry Lebedev (UA), 6-1, 7-6(7)5. Alex Zotov (VU) def. Tyler Tarnasky (UA), 6-4, 6-06. Alex DiValerio (VU) def. Bradwin Williams (UA), 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
Doubles1. Dmitry Lebedev/Chris Nott (UA) def. #30 Adam Baker/Alex Zotov (VU), 9-8(8)2. #60 Matt Hogan/Blake Strode (UA) def. #58 Bryant Salcedo/Nick Cromydas (VU), 8-63. Vijay Paul/Charlie Jones (VU) def. Tyler Tarnasky/Taylor King (UA), 8-6
Order of FinishDoubles: 3, 1, 2*Singles: 5, 2, 4, 6, 1, 3*