FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas got excellent play out of the top-half of its lineup, but the 21st-ranked Razorbacks could not turn back No. 1 Georgia Friday afternoon at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center, falling 5-2.
The Hogs (8-4, 0-1 SEC) dropped their second consecutive decision to the Bulldogs (11-0, 1-0). Georgia defeated Arkansas on March 13, 2005 in Athens, 5-2. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 17-2.
Friday’s match marked the second time this season the Razorbacks have faced a top-5 opponent. UA lost to No. 3 Illinois, 4-0, on Feb. 17 at the ITA National Indoor Championships. It was also the seventh time the Hogs have matched up against ranked competition. Arkansas has a 3-4 record in those matches.
Georgia outlasted the Razorbacks to win a hotly contested doubles point. With one match complete and the Bulldogs needing just one match to claim the doubles win, Arkansas led on both courts one and two. 22nd-ranked Rohan Gajjar and Matt Roberts led Georgia’s 32nd-ranked team of John Isner and Antonio Ruiz, the defending NCAA Doubles Champions, 8-7. But, the Hogs lost a tiebreaker, 9-8 (4), and the Bulldogs claimed the doubles point, giving UGA an early 1-0 advantage.
The Razorback tandem of Adrians Zguns and Blake Strode upset the nation’s 7th-ranked doubles pair of Colin Purcell and Strahinja Bobusic, 9-7.
In singles, the Razorbacks fell behind early. 72nd-ranked Matic Omerzel, 6-4, 6-3, knocked off UA sophomore Colin Mascall. Freshman Blake Strode, ranked 41st, suffered his first dual-match loss, falling, 6-2, 6-3, to 37th-ranked Bobusic. Georgia clinched the dual-match win at No. 6, with Purcell defeating sophomore Jimmy Khougassian, 7-5, 6-3.
Roberts, ranked 40th, beat Ruiz at No. 3, 6-2, 6-4, while the 25th-ranked Zguns came from down a set to defeat 21st-ranked Luis Flores, 6-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-1). Gajjar, ranked 54th, faced the nation’s No.1 ranked player, John Isner, in a rematch of a match Gajjar won in Athens in 2005. Gajjar won the opening set, but could not stop Isner’s massive serve, falling, 6-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5).
Zguns’ win moved him into fourth alone on the Arkansas career wins list. The senior from Liepaja, Latvia now has 95 career victories, passing Cha Hoon Im. Zguns is six wins behind Oskar Johansson for third on the singles wins chart.
For the season, Zguns is 17-3, including a 9-0 dual match record. Roberts is 17-5 overall, 8-2 in duals. Gajjar drops to 11-5, 6-2 in duals. Strode is now 14-3 overall, and 6-1 this spring. Mascall, a semester transfer, is 6-4, while Khougassian is 11-5, 2-2 in dual action.
The Razorbacks are back in action Sunday, as they host the 28th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. first serve. Due to resurfacing of the UA Outdoor courts, the match will be held in Bentonville at the Wal-Mart Health and Tennis Center right off Exit 86 on I-540. If there is inclement weather, the match will be moved to the Dills Center. Please check www.hogwired.com Sunday morning for match location.
#1 Georgia 5, #21 Arkansas 2
March 3, 2006
1. #32 John Isner/Antonio Ruiz (UGA) def. #22 Matt Roberts/Rohan Gajjar (AR), 9-8 (4)
2. Blake Strode/Adrians Zguns (AR) def. #7 Colin Purcell/Strahinja Bobusic (UGA), 9-7
3. #24 Luis Flores/Matic Omerzel (UGA) def. Austin King/Colin Mascall (AR), 8-4
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. #25 Adrians Zguns (AR) def. #21 Luis Flores (UGA), 6-7, 7-5, 1-0 (10-1)
2. #1 John Isner (UGA) def. #54 Rohan Gajjar (AR), 6-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5)
3. #40 Matt Roberts (AR) def. Antonio Ruiz (UGA), 6-2, 6-4
4. #37 Strahinja Bobusic (UGA) def. #41 Blake Strode (AR), 6-2, 6-3
5. #72 Matic Omerzel (UGA) def. Colin Mascall (AR), 6-4, 6-3
6. Colin Purcell (UGA) def. Jimmy Khougassian (AR), 7-5, 6-3
Order of Finish: 5, 4, 6*, 3, 1, 2
#1 Georgia (11-0, 1-0 SEC)), #21 Arkansas (8-4, 0-1 SEC)
Clinchers: No. 1 doubles, No. 6 singles
Zguns (AR): 95th career victory, fourth alone on UA all-time list.