Razorbacks’ Tennis Season Comes to an End at t
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – One of the most successful seasons in recent Arkansas tennis history came to an end on Thursday as a trio of Razorbacks failed to advance in the championship singles and doubles draw at the 2004 NCAA Tennis Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
Sophomore Adrians Zguns was eliminated from the singles tournament by Baylor’s Benjamin Becker in a second round match at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa. Becker, ranked No. 15 in the nation, topped the No. 18 ranked Zguns 6-2, 6-4. Zguns ended his sophomore campaign with a 36-10 mark. His 36 singles wins ranks fourth on the UA record list for victories in a season.
“Adrians didn’t play one of his better matches of the year today,” Arkansas head coach Robert Cox said. “He couldn’t get any momentum going against a talented and experienced opponent. Becker just kept the pressure on him. Zguns had a great season and gained some valuable experience. I expect some more big things from him before his Razorback career is over.”
Senior Nathan Price and freshman Matt Simpson lost an opening round match in doubles play to Florida’s Chris Brandi and Hamid Mirzadeh on Thursday afternoon. The No. 41 duo from Florida topped the No. 52 doubles tandem from Arkansas in straight sets (6-2, 6-3).
“Nathan and Matt started slowly and couldn’t recover,” Cox said. “They made some runs, but just couldn’t do enough to get back into it. I’m proud of the way Nathan closed out his career in his hometown by helping our team get to the Sweet 16 and then competing in the singles and doubles draws. He made us a better team. For Matt to get here as a freshman is an accomplishment. He now has a taste of collegiate tennis at the highest level. That will only help him in the next few years.”
Arkansas had more than its fair share of highlights in the 2003-04 season. The Razorbacks parlayed a solid fall campaign into spring dual match wins over No. 13 Texas, No. 19 Oklahoma State and No. 21 Georgia. The Hogs bounced No. 31 Oklahoma State and No. 18 Tennessee in the school’s first-ever home NCAA regional to advance to their first Sweet 16 since 1986. Zguns and Price earned All-Southeastern Conference honors while Cox was named Central Region V Coach of the Year. The 17th year head coach of the Razorbacks also became the school’s all-time coaching victory leader in March.
“We had a great fall and our individuals played really well,” Cox said. “We were able to take that momentum into the spring and get some big home wins. The high point of the season had to be winning the regional in Fayetteville. We played two of our best matches in front of our home crowd.
We were successful individually and as a team. The future looks promising with almost everyone coming back for next year.”
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