FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas’ 23rd-ranked men’s tennis team is coming off a big win over then-No. 23 South Carolina, but the Razorbacks have a pair of tough home matches this week as the Hogs entertain last year’s NCAA finalists.
Arkansas meets No. 1 Georgia, the defending national champion, Friday at 1:30 p.m. and No. 15 Tennessee, the team Georgia beat for the title, Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches are at the UA Indoor/Outdoor Tennis Complex.
“It gets no bigger than this,” head coach Robert Cox says. “We can’t rest at all because it keeps getting tougher.”
Georgia, 13-1 and coming off a 7-0 win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday, is led by Matias Boeker at the No. 1 spot. Boeker is the defending NCAA singles and doubles champion.
“This guy is tough,” Cox says. “After winning the NCAAs last year, he played in several pro tournaments and did very well. Their No. 2 player, Brandon Wagner, is No. 11 in the country. The rest of their lineup is like a who’s who of college tennis.”
Arkansas is 8-3 overall with all three losses to ranked teams. The Razorbacks have four wins over ranked opponents, including the 4-3 come-from-behind win over USC.
With the four-hour match tied 3-3, senior Oggie Kolev won a three-set tiebreaker at No. 1 singles to give Arkansas the victory.
“I am so proud of the guys for hanging in there and fighting until the end,” Cox says. “There was no quit in this team. We looked like we were down and out several times only to come back and play our way back into it.”
In addition to Kolev’s comeback victory, Nathan Price rallied to win at No. 3 after Eduardo Pacheco won in straight sets at No. 5.
“Nathan showed some spunk and never lost sight of the ‘W’ as he fought hard to put himself in a position to win,” Cox says. “Nathan is getting better and better every match as he is beginning to take it to his opponent more and apply some pressure. With Nathan finishing a few minutes ahead of Oggie, it all came down to court No. 1.
“Eddie’s win gave us our second point and helped us keep pace with South Carolina. He is playing with some confidence that shows.”
Kolev, ranked No. 32 in the nation, leads the Razorbacks with a 21-6 record at No. 1, followed by Pacheco with a 16-6 mark and Aleksey Bubis at 15-9.