FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas hits the road this weekend to open Southeastern Conference play, traveling to top-ranked Georgia Friday and 30th-ranked Tennessee Sunday.
The Razorbacks (6-7) take on No. 1 Georgia (10-0) Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs are fresh off a, 7-0, victory over 23rd-ranked Tulsa Tuesday, while the Razorbacks won their last outing, 7-0, against Pacific last Saturday.
Each of the six singles players in the Georgia lineup is ranked in the top 80, nationally. Senior John Isner is No. 3, while juniors Luis Flores and Travis Helgeson are 9th and 13th, respectively. Also, the Bulldogs boast three ranked doubles teams, including the nation’s top-ranked pair of Isner and Flores.
In singles, Arkansas will counter Isner, the All-American and reigning SEC Player of the Year, with sophomore Blake Strode. Strode, currently ranked 72nd, enters the weekend on a eight-match win streak. The St. Louis, Mo., native is 18-4 on the season, 9-1 in dual matches, and has notched five wins over players currently ranked by the ITA. Strode and Isner have faced one common opponent, 2nd-ranked Arnau Brugues of Tulsa. Isner defeated Brugues, 6-4, 6-1, on Tuesday, while Strode led Brugues, 7-6, 3-2, when the UA-Tulsa match was clinched on January 20.
Arkansas will oppose the team of Isner and Flores with the nation’s 15th-ranked duo of Strode and Colin Mascall. Strode and Mascall are 11-3 on the season.
Sunday, the Hogs head to Knoxville, Tenn. to battle No. 30 Tennessee at 1 p.m. at the Varsity Tennis Courts.
The Volunteers (6-2) feature two ranked singles players. Junior Bobby Cameron is 23rd, while classmate Kaden Hensel is 29th. Cameron and Hensel also team up to form the nation’s 44th-ranked doubles team.
Live scoring for both matches will be available on www.hogwired.com.