OXFORD, Miss. – Blake Strode notched the 50th win of his young career, but 10th-ranked Ole Miss proved to be too much for Arkansas, downing the Razorbacks, 6-1, Sunday afternoon at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center in Oxford, Miss.
The Razorbacks fall to 7-17 on the season and 0-8 in Southeastern Conference action.
After the Rebels (18-2, 7-1 SEC) had claimed the dual match by clinching the matches on singles courts three through six, Strode and Mascall were each battling into third set supertiebreakers at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Strode, ranked 95th in the nation, managed to fight off Claesson, ranked 109th, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(11), while Mascall could not complete the comeback from down a set against 85th-ranked Matthias Wellermann, 6-4, 4-6, 1-0(6).
Strode’s victory is the 50th of his young career. The sophomore is now 50-17 in just under two seasons at Arkansas. The win was also Strode’s second consecutive against ranked opponents after he knocked off 39th-ranked Ivan Bjelica of Mississippi St. on Friday. The St. Louis, Mo. product, who went 27-7 in 2006, improves to 23-10 overall, 14-7 in dual matches and evens his SEC tally at 4-4.
The Rebels won a tightly contested doubles point. Arkansas dropped the match at No. 2, but the Razorbacks were still very much alive to claim their ninth doubles point of the season. The Hogs pair of freshman Bradwin Williams and Gabriel Mattos could not battle past the Rebels team of Robbye Poole and Chris Rea, falling, 9-7, and clinching the doubles point for Ole Miss.
The Razorbacks’ 27th-ranked tandem of Strode and Colin Mascall edged the Rebels’ 51st-ranked team of Claesson and Erling Tveit, 9-8, at No. 1 doubles. Strode and Mascall better their season totals to 18-6 overall, 14-5 in dual matches and 5-3 in SEC outings.
The Hogs are back in action Wednesday when they travel to Stillwater, Okla. to face regional opponent Oklahoma St. at 2 p.m.Arkansas returns to SEC play next weekend when it hosts Auburn and Alabama in the final two home matches of the season. The match with Auburn is set for 1:30 Friday, while the Hogs and Crimson Tide will get together Sunday at 1 p.m.
#10 Ole Miss 6, Arkansas 1
April 1, 2007
Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center, Oxford, Miss.
Singles:1. #95 Blake Strode (ARK) def. #109 Eric Claesson (OM), 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(11)2. #85 Matthias Wellermann (OM) def. Colin Mascall (ARK), 6-4, 4-6, 1-0(6)3. #32 Robbye Poole (OM) def. Dmitry Lebedev (ARK), 6-3, 7-54. Kalle Norberg (OM) def. Andrei Nicoara (ARK), 6-3, 6-25. Jakob Klaeson (OM) def. Jorge Villanueva (ARK), 6-2, 6-16. Jonas Berg (OM) def. Bradwin Williams (ARK), 6-0, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 5*, 3, 2, 1
1. #27 Strode/Mascall (ARK) def. #51 Claesson/Erling Tveit (OM), 9-8
2. Klaeson/Wellermann (OM) def. Villanueva/Dmitry Vlaskin (ARK), 8-4
3. Poole/Chris Rea (OM) def. Williams/Gabriel Mattos (ARK), 9-7
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1