FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Potentially the most daunting weekend of the dual season for the University of Arkansas men’s tennis team each year since 2004, this weekend, the No. 46 Razorbacks (9-7, 1-3) travel to No. 5 Tennessee (14-3, 3-1) on Friday only to return home to host reigning national champion and current-No. 3 Georgia (14-2, 3-1) on Sunday.
This is the sixth straight season the Hogs have played Tennessee and Georgia in the same weekend and in that span, Arkansas is 1-4 against both teams, last beating the Vols in 2006 and downing the Bulldogs in 2004. The last two seasons have been especially difficult as the Hogs have failed to win a point off either foe since 2006.
In their 2008 meeting with Tennessee in Fayetteville, Dmitry Lebedev, playing at No. 4 singles took Davey Sandgren to three sets before falling, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2. At the No. 6 position, Bradwin Williams was solid in the first set before dropping the next two and losing the match, 6-7, 6-0, 6-3. That was as close as the Razorbacks would get to securing points in the match, falling, 7-0.
At Georgia last year, the Hogs suffered a similar, 7-0, defeat to the Bulldogs. Arkansas did earn one victory on the day, a win at No. 2 doubles as Lebedev and Colin Mascall bested Luis Flores and Josh Varela, 8-7. Georgia did not drop another set to the Razorbacks during the match.
This weekend, Razorbacks coach Robert Cox is mixing things up on the doubles court, teaming Blake Strode with Chris Nott together and playing Matt Hogan with Lebedev.
After a week off, Strode and Hogan will not only be back to play in doubles but will resume their spots in the top half of the Razorbacks’ singles lineup. The top four spots in the singles lineup are a combined 43-15 in dual match play this spring but Cox is still trying to find consistency at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions which sport a combined record of 11-21.
On Friday, the Hogs’ first serve with the Vols is set for 1 p.m. at the University of Tennessee Varsity Tennis Courts. At home against Georgia on Sunday, the Razorbacks are scheduled to begin play at noon at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center and Dills Indoor Stadium. For more information and for complete coverage of Arkansas men’s tennis, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.