FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After several close matches, everything came together for Arkansas tennis on Friday as they blazed to a 4-3 victory over No. 15 Florida at the Billingsley Tennis Center, the Razorbacks’ first top-15 win since defeating 11th-ranked Virginia in 2006.
Arkansas continued its strong doubles play, notching wins on courts one and two within minutes of each other. No. 71 Hall Fess and Pete Thomason struck first, taking down Diego Hidalgo and Michael Alford 8-3 at the No. 2 doubles position. Seniors Mike Nott and Manfred Jeske, now ranked 31st in the country, were right behind their teammates with a 8-3 victory at the No. 1 doubles position over Gordon Watson and Florent Diep to clinch the doubles point.
The Razorbacks opened singles play with a 1-0 lead over the Gators. Thomason fell on court six and Florida was able to bring the score to one all. Freshman Johan den Toom scored the first singles point for Arkansas, racing to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Florida’s Alford on court five. The Gators weren’t done, taking the match on court four to bring the score back to an even 2-2.
Arkansas held leads on the remaining four courts and Nott was close to finishing off his opponent on court one. After falling behind in the second set, Nott rallied and found himself in a tiebreaker at 6-6. The first few points flew back and fourth before Nott settled in and sent No. 78 Watson packing with a 7-6 (7-5) decision.
Nott’s victory put the Razorbacks up 3-2 with Jeske closing in on a victory of his own, the fourth point that would clinch the victory for Arkansas for a season-defining win. After winning the first set, Jeske dropped the second, forcing a third which would, ultimately, decide the match. Jeske took to the lead at 5-4 and held steady during his last game, powering through to a 6-4 set and a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over No. 108 Diep, his third consecutive victory over a ranked opponent.
Arkansas will return to play on Sunday, facing off against South Carolina at 1 p.m. Sunday’s match will feature 150 free coozies given to the first fans at the Billingsley Tennis Center.
Live stats can be found at www.ArkansasRazorbacks.com as well as by following @RazorbackMTEN on Twitter.
How They Won:
• @RazorbackMTEN won the doubles point for the fifth consecutive SEC match, a season long streak for Arkansas
• Senior Manfred Jeske defeated a ranked opponent in singles play for the third straight match, also setting a new career-high win streak in league play
• Freshman Johan den Toom won his fourth SEC singles match and 11th spring match at the No. 5 singles position, a team-high in 2014 and career-high for the freshman
• Senior Mike Nott’s win at court one was his first win in 2014 SEC play, as well as his first
tiebreaker victory of the season
@RazorbackMTEN Tweetables (140 characters or less)
• .@RazorbackMTEN took down #15 Florida Fri., Coach Jackson’s highest ranked win at Arkansas and Arkansas’ 1st top 15 victory since 2006 #WPS
• .@RazorbackMTEN won the doubles point for the 5th straight SEC match and has won 2 SEC matches for the first time since 2009 #NeverYield
• #71 Fess/Thomason have now won 17 matches at No. 2 doubles and lead the SEC in 2014 doubles wins #WPS
Tennis Match Results
Florida vs Arkansas
Mar 28, 2014 at Fayetteville, Ark.
(Dills Indoor Center)
Arkansas 4, #15 Florida 3
1. Mike Nott (AR) def. Gordon Watson (UF) 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Manfred Jeske (AR) def. Florent Diep (UF) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
3. Maxx Lipman (UF) defHall Fess (AR) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
4. Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Jovan Parlic (AR) 6-1, 6-4
5. Johan den Toom (AR) def. Michael Alford (UF) 6-2, 6-4
6. Elliott Orkin (UF) def. Pete Thomason (AR) 6-1, 6-3
1. Mike Nott/Manfred Jeske (AR) def. Gordon Watson/Florent Diep (UF) 8-3
2. Hall Fess/Pete Thomason (AR) def. Diego Hidalgo/Michael Alford (UF) 8-3
3. Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (UF) vs Jacob Herndon/Jovan Parlic (AR) did not finish