FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas continues a six-week road trip this weekend, traveling to Austin, Texas Sunday to take on the 23rd-ranked Texas Longhorns. The Razorbacks, ranked 36th in the nation, are in the midst of eight consecutive road matches and have 15 remaining matches against teams ranked in the latest ITA polls.
The Hogs are 2-3 going into Sunday’s contest, while the Longhorns are 3-1 heading into their match Saturday with Minnesota. The match will be played outdoors and marks the first outdoor match of 2005 for UA.
The Texas match marks the first for the Razorbacks since Feb. 13, when the Hogs lost a 4-3 decision to No. 46 Michigan State. In that match, UA’s top three of Adrians Zguns, Rohan Gajjar and Matt Roberts swept their matches, but MSU took the points at the bottom of the lineup and in doubles.
“Coming off a two-week break, we’ve got some questions to answer about how sharp we are or how rusty we may be,” Razorback Coach Robert Cox said, “But, we’ve had two-weeks to practice outdoors and I think we’ve shored up some areas.”
Arkansas juniors Gajjar and Roberts each made significant moves up the polls in this week’s ITA Singles Rankings. Gajjar jumped up 14 spots from No. 77 to No. 63, while Roberts made a huge leap from 121st to 72nd.
Gajjar is 4-1 this season playing mostly in the No. 2 spot for the Hogs. In his only match at No. 1 this year, Gajjar recorded a straight-set victory over then-No. 40 Devin Mullings of Ohio State. The Mumbai, India native also posted victories in UA victories over Southwest Missouri State and 75th-ranked Army, and earned a point in UA’s 4-3 loss to No. 46 Michigan State. Gajjar was 10-4 this fall, including two wins over ranked opponents.
Roberts is 3-2 this spring competing at No. 3. The product of Little Rock also notched wins in Arkansas’ victories over SMS and Army, and won a point against Michigan State. This fall, Roberts had a record of 13-2, including a 10-0 start, where his only two losses were to players currently ranked in the national top 40.
“We’re ready to play,” Cox said, “We’ve had two weeks to think about losing three (matches) in a row. We’re excited to play again, and we can always get up to play Texas. It’s going to be a difficult task. I have a lot of respect for Texas’ coach, Michael Center, and their program. It’s fun when you go play class teams.”
Sunday’s first serve between the Hogs and ‘Horns is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center on the UT Campus.