FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 41 University of Arkansas men’s tennis team had a tough match on its hands Friday afternoon, as it dropped its eighth Southeastern Conference match of the year, 7-0, to No. 9 Florida (13-7, 6-3 SEC) at the Billingsley Tennis Center. Arkansas (14-10, 1-8 SEC) looked strong at the beginning of singles play staying fairly even with the Gators midway through the first sets of singles, but just couldn’t get over the hump as Florida cruised to five straight set victories.
“We just came out a little flat today,” Arkansas head coach Robert Cox said. “Florida just jumped all over us and to claw our way back into that match, it’s a tall order with the quality of players Florida has. Give them credit, they stood up to the challenge and kept us down. We have to bounce back and be ready for South Carolina now.”
Throughout the entire day it seemed that Florida was in control from the start as they swept through each doubles court winning by at least three games or more. The Gators clinched the doubles point at court two after Bob van Overbeek and Spencer Newman defeated Mike Nott and Manfred Jeske, 8-3.
The closest doubles match came at court three as senior Nikolas Zogaj and junior Mike Ward fell behind a break early, but then held serve from on out to stay within only one or two games. Unfortunately, Tripper Carleton and Andrew Butz were not budging on serve as they held for the remainder of the match and ended up winning, 8-5, to give the Gators the doubles sweep.
Singles play did not go much better for the Razorbacks as they were quickly defeated at courts one and three to fall behind 3-0 on the team scoreboard. The Hogs looked to have some life as senior Matt Walters took his first set with Carleton to a tiebreaker and junior Hall Fess was tied at 5-all with Butz at court six in the first set, but both Gators in both situations ended up on the winning end of those first sets as they helped the Gators to first set wins at all six courts.
The clincher for Florida came at court two when 71st-ranked Nassim Slilam defeated junior Gregoire Lehmann in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. The final three courts were played out and two, quickly, were also notched in the win column for the Gators.
The last court off at No. 4 was the most competitive as Jeske and Billy Federhofer went the distance after Jeske forced the deciding third set with a 6-3 second set win. Federhofer went up in the tiebreaker and actually led 9-4, but Jeske continued to fight and made it 9-7 before Federhofer scored the winning point and gave Florida the 7-0 shutout.
Arkansas continues its home stand on Sunday when they face No. 38 South Carolina at the Billingsley Tennis Center. First serve for the match is scheduled for 1 p.m. and live stats with the live blog will be available during the match.
#9 Florida 7
#41 Arkansas 0
Complete Doubles Results
Order of Finish: 1, 2*, 3
No. 1 #10 Nassim Slilam/Billy Federhofer (UF) def. #48 Hall Fess/Matt Walters (ARK)
No. 2 Bob van Overbeek/Spencer Newman (UF) def. Mike Nott/Manfred Jeske (ARK)
No. 3 Tripper Carleton/Andrew Butz (UF) def. Nikolas Zogaj/Mike Ward (ARK)
Complete Singles Results
Order of Finish: 5, 1, 2*, 3, 6, 4
No. 1 #41 Bob van Overbeek (UF) def. #108 Nikolas Zogaj (ARK)
No. 2 #71 Nassim Slilam (UF) def. Gregoire Lehmann (ARK)
No. 3 #49 Tripper Carleton (UF) def. Matt Walters (ARK)
No. 4 Billy Federhofer (UF) def. Manfred Jeske (ARK)
6-3, 3-6, 1-0(7)
6-3, 3-6, 1-0(7)
No. 5 Michael Alford (UF) def. Mike Ward (ARK)
No. 6 Andrew Butz (UF) def. Hall Fess (ARK)