FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ tennis team heads to Seattle, Wash. this weekend to take on some of the nation’s top programs at the ITA National Indoor Championships.
The 46th-ranked Razorbacks (7-1) face 3rd-ranked Illinois in the first-round Friday at 5:30 p.m., Pacific, at the Seattle Tennis Club. The Hogs are the tournament’s 14th-seed, while the Fighting Illini (6-0) are the 3rd-seed.
UA holds a 3-1 advantage over Illinois in the all-time series. The last time the two schools met was March 23, 1989 at the University of California-Irvine Classic, with the Hogs winning, 6-0.
The Illini are led by a powerful lineup. Senior Ryler DeHeart heads the Illinois attack with 11 wins against ranked opponents and a No. 7 national ranking. DeHeart is a former No. 1 ranked player. Following DeHeart is sophomore Kevin Anderson (No. 37), and junior G.D. Jones. The bottom of Illinois’ lineup features sophomores Ruben Gonzales (No. 59) and Ryan Rowe (No. 99), and senior Pramod Debir.
Illinois also features one of the nation’s more potent doubles lineups. Anderson and Rowe team up in the top spot, while DeHeart and Gonzales play at No. 2. Both pairs have posted perfect records so far this season.
Illinois won the National Indoors in both 2003 and 2004.
The Razorbacks counter with an experienced and formidable lineup.
Senior Adrians Zguns, a former top-10 player, is 14-3 this year, 5-0 in dual matches and is likely to fill the top spot in the Hog lineup. Zguns is also currently sixth on UA’s career wins list (92).
Senior Matt Roberts (No. 24) is probable in the No. 2 spot. Roberts is 15-3 on the season and 6-0 in duals.
The three and four slots will either be freshman Blake Strode (No. 19) or senior Rohan Gajjar (No. 100). Strode is 14-2 and 6-0 in duals. Gajjar is 10-4 overall and 5-1 in duals.
In the fifth and sixth positions, the Hogs will use a combination of sophomores Michael Jung and Colin Mascall. Jung is a team-best 19-3, 5-1 in duals, while Mascall, who transferred from Montana at semester, is 5-1.
Arkansas joins five other SEC schools in Seattle. Top-ranked Florida is the No. 1 seed, with 2nd-ranked Georgia the No. 2 seed. Fifth-ranked Ole Miss is seeded 5th, while 15th-ranked LSU is seeded 10th. 10th-ranked South Carolina is the No. 11 seed, with the 46th-ranked Razorbacks the No. 14 seed.
The field boasts thirty-four of the nation’s top 100 players, including seven of the top 10 and 10 of the top 20. Two of the top 10 doubles teams will also be in Seattle.
On nine occasions the team that won the USTA/ITA title went on to win the NCAA title in May, including the 2003 champ Illinois. There have also been four times when the USTA/ITA runner-up went on to win the NCAAs.
Matches will be held at both the Lloyd Nordstrom Tennis Center on the University of Washington campus and the Seattle Tennis Center. Please check www.hogwired.com for Razorback match times and results.
ITA National Indoor Championships
Top Half(4) Pepperdine vs. (13) Florida State, 8 am -Lloyd Nordstrom Tennis Center(5) Mississippi vs. (11) South Carolina, 8 am – Seattle Tennis Club(1) Florida vs. (16) Pennsylvania, 11 am – Nordstrom TC(8) Baylor vs. (9) Duke, 11 am – Seattle TCBottom Half(2) Georgia vs. (15) Colorado, 2:30 pm – Nordstrom TC(7) UCLA vs. (10) LSU, 2:30 pm – Seattle TC(6) Virginia vs. (12) Washington, 5:30 pm – Nordstrom TC(3) Illinois vs. (14) Arkansas, 5:30 pm – Seattle TC
Download: National Indoor Notes.pdf