FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Second-seed Blake Strode and freshman Chris Nott earned spots in the round of 16 at the Wilson/ITA Central Region Championships. The two Razorbacks each won two matches Thursday at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa. Three UA doubles teams also advanced.
Strode defeated Konrad Kamizelich of Drake, 6-2, 6-0, in his first-round match. In his next match, the junior netter advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Oklahoma’s Federico Chavarria. Strode’s round of 16 opponent will be Hendrik Stahmer of Nebraska.
Nott opened the day with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Nebraska’s Jamie Holmes. He followed that with a second-round triumph over Felipe Villasenor of Southern Illinois, 6-4, 6-4. Nott will take on Oklahoma’s Andrei Daescu in a round of 16 matchup.
“I was pleased with Blake and Chris’ play today,” head coach Robert Cox said. “Chris was especially a pleasant surprise and I’m glad to see him advance. I was also pleased with Tyler Tarnasky, who lost in the second round today, but I thought he looked good in both matches.”
Tarnasky played Michael Hobson in the opening round and beat the Illinois St. player, 6-3, 6-3. In the second round, Tarnasky fell to Nebraska’s David Bendheim, 6-3, 6-4.
Dmitry Lebedev was the only other Razorback to pick up a win on the day. Lebedev defeated Scott McCormick of Wichita St., 6-4, 6-2, before losing this second-round match to Marko Ballok of Arkansas-Little Rock.
Arkansas regrouped during the doubles competition and saw three of its four teams advance to Friday’s second round.
Strode and Colin Mascall, the tournament’s top-seeded duo, eased past Breno Salvany and Hugo Vidal of Southern Illinois, 8-1. They will face the Nebraska team of Taylor Boney and Mark Tate in the round of 32.
Nott and Lebedev teamed for an 8-5 win over Stahmer and Francois Van Impe. Branden Joost and Bradwin Williams moved ahead with an identical 8-5 win over Drake’s Dil Havar and Ricardo Lau. Up next for Nott and Lebedev is the Saint Louis team of PJ Hendrie and Adam Reeb, while Joost and Williams will play the team of Oleksandr Nedovyesov and Dmytro Petrov from Oklahoma St.
Tarnasky and Taylor King dropped a tough 9-7 decision to Felipe Acosta and Paul Feder from Saint Louis.
"We ended the day strong with good doubles play," Cox said. "Hopefully that will set us up to come out Friday and keep advancing through the rounds."
Play at the Central Region Championship will continue Friday with singles and doubles action. Singles matches will begin at 9 a.m. CT to be followed by the doubles competition. Log on to www.hogwired.com for complete results.