Razorbacks Open SEC Play on Road This Weekend
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ men’s tennis team opens Southeastern Conference competition this weekend with matches at South Carolina and Florida.
“We’re excited and ready to start SEC play,” Arkansas head coach Robert Cox. “We’ve been tested and we’ve improved with every match. We’re confident and you have to be when you enter league play or things can get pretty rough.”
The 38th-ranked Razorbacks (2-4) travel to Columbia, S.C. Friday for a 1 p.m. contest with South Carolina. The Hogs are looking to end a four-match losing streak, with each of UA’s four defeats coming at the hands of ranked opponents.
The Razorbacks’ last match, a 5-2 setback at Texas, featured the Hogs’ strongest doubles’ showing of the season. Juniors Rohan Gajjar and Adrians Zguns played their first match of the spring at No. 1 doubles, and recorded their fourth win of the season. Arkansas’ duo of junior Matt Roberts and senior Imraan Ismail, who went 9-2 in the fall including winning the ITA Central Region Championship, picked up their first victory of this spring playing in the No. 2 doubles spot. The Razorbacks earned the doubles’ point for the first time since their 5-2 win at Army.
The No. 55 Gamecocks (9-3) are coming off a loss at Georgia Tech and have dropped two straight matches on the season. USC is led by junior Tom Eklund, who is ranked No. 68 in the nation.
Following Friday’s match, UA travels to Gainesville, Fla., for a Sunday match with No. 7 Florida. The Gators (5-4) are coming off a 5-2 loss to top-ranked Baylor and host No. 9 LSU on Friday before taking on the Razorbacks. UF features three ranked individuals, with Greg Oullette (62nd), Vlad Obradovic (59th) and Chris Brandi (69th) all appearing the latest ITA rankings. The Gators also have the doubles of Oullette and Janne Holmia ranked at No. 36.
Friday’s match with South Carolina begins at 1 p.m. at the Sam Daniel Tennis Center on the USC campus, while Sunday’s contest with Florida is also set for 1 p.m. at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville.
The Hogs’ return to Fayetteville March 25 for their SEC home opener with Vanderbilt.
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