Johansson Makes Run Towards Second National Si
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FARMERS BRANCH, TEXAS – Senior Oskar Johansson has earned a semifinal berth at the Rolex National Intercollegiate Indoor Tennis Championships after recording a pair of straight-set victories over two nationally-ranked opponents on Friday.
“Oskar is playing some excellent tennis right now,” Arkansas head coach Robert Cox said. “He had some tough competition in the early rounds, but he made it through. It will be a tough road, but the way he is playing I wouldn’t count him out of making another run.”
Johansson downed Stanford’s K.J. Hippensteel 6-4, 6-3 on Friday morning to advance to the quarterfinal round. Hippensteel is a former No. 1 singles player in the nation and is currently ranked 52nd.
On Friday afternoon, Johansson continued his sizzling play with a 6-3, 6-2 win over seventh ranked John Paul Fruttero in the quarterfinals. Fruttero, from the University of California, is known as a big-time serve specialist but Johansson had little trouble recording the victory.
“When you look at the guys that Oskar has faced so far, it is really an accomplishment to be winning in the convincing fashion that he has been,” Cox said. “When he is playing with confidence he is tough to beat.”
Johansson, ranked No. 4 in the latest individual singles listing, is trying to become the first Razorback to win two individual national championships in one season. The Malmoe, Sweden native, captured the singles crown at the ITA National Clay Court Championships last fall becoming only the fifth player in UA history to win a national title. The Rolex National Indoor Championships is the third leg in the collegiate grand slam.
With his pair of wins on Friday, Johansson moved his record to 17-2. In addition to his National Clay Court title, the Hogs’ top singles player also topped the singles draw at the prestigious River Oaks Invitational earlier this fall.
Johansson will be back in action on Saturday in the semifinal round against the winner of a match pitting top-ranked Genius Chidzikwe (SMU) and Nenad Zivkovic (UNLV). The singles final is set for Sunday afternoon.
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