FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas returns to the courts Friday, as the Hogs welcome top-ranked Georgia to the Dills Indoor Tennis Center in Fayetteville. First serve for the match is set for 1:30 p.m.
Friday’s match is the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Arkansas was 2-9 in the league in 2005, while Georgia was 8-3.
The Razorbacks (8-3) are playing their first match since Feb. 19 against LSU at the ITA National Indoor Championships in Seattle, Wash. The Bulldogs (10-0) are fresh off a, 7-0, shutout against Georgia State Tuesday, and also won the ITA National Indoors.
“We welcome the opportunity to take on the number one team in the NCAA,” Razorback Coach Robert Cox said.
This marks the second time this season Arkansas will face a top-five opponent. UA lost to No. 3 Illinois, 4-0, on Feb. 17. The last time the Hogs faced two top-five opponents in one season was 2003 (No. 2 Florida and No. 5 Ole Miss). After Friday’s match, all 13 of the Razorbacks’ opponents are ranked in top-60, including No. 5 Ole Miss and No. 7 Florida.
Georgia leads the all-time series between the schools, 16-2. The Bulldogs won last year’s meeting in Athens, 5-2. The last time the two met in Fayetteville, Arkansas knocked off 21st-ranked Georgia, 4-3.
“Georgia has a great team,” Cox said, “They feature the top-ranked player in the country (John Isner), and all three of their doubles teams are in the top 32. They come fully loaded, so we will have to be ready.”
Isner heads the Bulldog lineup. The junior is 24-2 this season, 8-0 in dual matches and 15-2 against ranked opposition. Luis Flores is ranked 21st, Strahinja Bobusic is 37th and Matic Omerzel is 72nd. The Bulldogs also feature three teams ranked in doubles. Colin Purcell and Bobusic are 7th, followed by Flores and Omerzel at 24th and defending NCAA Doubles Champions Isner and Antonio Ruiz at No. 32.
The Razorbacks are the only team in the nation with four players ranked in the top-55. Senior Adrians Zguns leads the Razorbacks at No. 25. The Liepaja, Latvia native is 16-3 this season, 8-0 in duals and 6-1 against ranked competition.
Senior Matt Roberts is ranked 40th heading into this week. The Little Rock, Ark. product is 16-5 this season, 7-2 in duals. Freshman Blake Strode appears in the rankings at No. 41. The St. Louis, Mo. native is 14-2 overall, 6-0 in dual matches. Strode also sports three wins over top-55 players. Senior Rohan Gajjar rounds out the Razorbacks’ ranked quartet at No. 54. Gajjar, of Mumbai, India, is 11-4 this season, 5-2 in duals.
Sophomore Colin Mascall will likely fill one of the remaining two spots in the Hog lineup, while either sophomore Michael Jung, sophomore Jimmy Khougassian or freshman Austin King will take the final position.
In doubles, Gajjar and Roberts bring their No. 22 ranking and a 9-2 record into the match. Strode and Zguns are 5-2 on the season, while Mascall and King are 3-5.
Friday’s match between the Hogs and ‘Dogs is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Dills Indoor Tennis Center in Fayetteville. The Dills Center is located directly across from Bud Walton Arena on Razorback Road. Admission is free and there will be free pizza and beverages for fans.
#1 Georgia @ #21 Arkansas
1. #25 Gajjar/Roberts (Ark) vs. #32 Isner/Ruiz (Ga)
2. Zguns/Strode (Ark) vs. #7 Bobusic/Purcell (Ga)
3. Mascall/King (Ark) vs. #24 Flores/Omerzel (Ga)
1. #25 Adians Zguns vs. #21 Luis Flores (Ga)
2. #54 Rohan Gajjar vs. #1 John Isner (Ga)
3. #40 Matt Roberts (Ark) vs. Antonio Ruiz (GA)
4. #41 Blake Strode (Ark) vs. #37 Strahija Bobusic (Ga)
5. Colin Mascall (Ark) vs. #72 Matic Omerzel (Ga)
6. TBA vs. TBA