LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Arkansas’ No. 1 men’s tennis player, nationally-ranked No. 15 Blake Strode came back from being down a set to Kentucky’s Bruno Agostinelli, the No. 2 player in the nation, to win his eighth dual singles match of the spring, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0) in the Razorbacks’ (6-7, 0-3) 6-1 loss to No. 31 Kentucky (9-4, 2-3) on Friday.“Blake beating the No. 2 player in the nation is a great accomplishment,” head Razorback coach Robert Cox said. “This match was a five hour war for us and Kentucky. We have to focus on closing out matches now. The wins will come we just have to keep after it.”
The loss to the Wildcats is the fifth straight loss for the Hogs, but Cox is encouraged by what he sees from his singles lineup.
Playing at the No. 2 singles position against Brad Cox, sophomore Chris Nott played a hard three sets before falling short in the third set tiebreak and losing the match, 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(6). Dmitry Lebedev couldn’t hold onto his lead over Alex Musialek, who came back to win the second and third sets against the Hog, winning the match, 6-7, 7-6(4), 6-4.
“Nott played a great match,” Cox said. “He got to match point during the match and played very well. Lebedev had a good match as well. As a team, we were very competitive against a very good, well coached Kentucky team.
Matt Hogan continued his recent struggles against Kentucky, falling in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3 to No. 99 Eric Quigley while Tyler Tarnasky lost to Graeme Dyce, 6-3, 7-5.
Freshman Nikolas Zogaj also lost his singles match, falling 6-2, 6-3 to Alberto Gonzalez.
Doubles also remains an obstacle for Arkansas who lost at the No. 1 position behind Lebedev and Nott, who made their debut at the top spot against No. 13 Agostinelli and Cox and losing, 8-2. Tarnasky and Taylor King also lost their doubles match in an, 8-3, decision against Gonzalez and Musialek on Court 3.
“I’m really disappointed again in our doubles play,” Cox said. “We can’t continue to throw away the doubles point and expect to come back and win four singles matches.”
Strode and Hogan, ranked No. 60, were leading, 6-5, in their match on Court 2 against Dyce and Quigley when play was suspended.
Next for the Razorbacks is a trip to Nashville, Tenn. to face No. 39 Vanderbilt on Sunday at 1 p.m. For updated results and for complete coverage of Arkansas men’s tennis, log on to Arkansas Razorbacks.com.
#31 Kentucky 6, #53 Arkansas 1March 13, 2009Lexington, Ky.Singles1. #15 Blake Strode (UA) def. #2 Bruno Agostinelli (UK), 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(0)2. Brad Cox (UK) def. Chris Nott (UA), 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(6)3. #99 Eric Quigley (UK) def. #120 Matt Hogan (UA), 6-3, 6-34. Alex Musialek (UK) def. Dmitry Lebedev (UA), 6-7, 7-6(4), 6-45. Graeme Dyce (UK) def. Tyler Tarnasky (UA), 6-3, 7-56. Alberto Gonzalez (UK) def. Nikolas Zogaj (UA), 6-2, 6-3
Doubles1. #13 Agostinelli/Cox (UK) def. Lebedev/Nott (UA), 8-22. Hogan/Strode (UA) led Dyce/Quigley (UK), 6-5, susp.3. Gonzalez/Musialek (UK) def. King/Tarnasky (UA), 8-3