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Wildcats Drop Hogs, 7-0

Wildcats Drop Hogs, 7-0
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Twelve-ranked Kentucky came into Arkansas on Friday with hopes that its recent success in basketball would transcend to tennis as well. It did as the Wildcats proved to be too much for the No. 26 Arkansas Razorbacks, winning 7-0.

The doubles was less than spectacular for the Hogs as they lost two of the doubles matches. First off the court was the Arkansas duo of Rohan Gajjar and Talley Parker. They fell at the hands of Kentucky’s Jesse Witten and Rahim Esmail, 8-2. The number three would be the next match finished, as Matt Roberts and Adrians Zguns were defeated 8-2 by Alex Hume and Evan Austin.

Perhaps the highlight of the dual match was the number one doubles match where both teams played solid and allowed no breaks. That was until Eduardo Pacheco and Aleksey Bubis broke the Kentucky squad of Matt Emery and Karim Benmansour in the twelfth game to go up 7-5. With Bubis on serve, Arkansas would walk away with the win.

Head Coach Robert Cox was markedly disappointed with the day’s loss but has his focus on the road ahead.

“Kentucky came in here with a great record and a great team,” Cox said. “I give all the credit in the world to them – they deserve it. Our guys played good tennis today but just didn’t execute as well as we could have. In doubles, Eddie [Pacheco] and Aleksey [Bubis] put it together and used their experience to beat a solid doubles team. Unfortunately for us, nobody else was able to do that.

“Right now we just have to focus on getting everybody healthy and moving forward. This season isn’t over yet as we have at least five matches left and that’s where our focus has to be.”

Singles would come and the Razorbacks would have to rely on solid play and experience from their young squad With Nathan Price out of the line up with an injury, Cox has had to rely on an alternate line up. With Bubis at one, Pacheco at two, Zguns three, Gajjar four, Roberts five and Hunter Benson at six, the Razorbacks played spotty tennis.

Hunter Benson would have troubles on court six as Kentucky freshman Alex Hume dumped him 6-2 in the first set. The second set would end just like the first with Kentucky getting a 2-0 lead on a 6-2, 6-2 win.

Pacheco would take on Kentucky’s Evan Austin on the second court and it seemed as Austin had the advantage the entire way. Pacheco would fight back but would do so unsuccessfully in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to give Kentucky a 3-0 lead

Center court featured former number one player Jesse Witten and Aleksey Bubis. Early on in the match, Bubis looked great but would fade as the first set went on, losing the first 6-2. Near the end of the first game in the second, Bubis went down with a twisted ankle. After having it taped, the game resumed. It would seem that his untimely fall cost him the match, as he was never able to get back into his game, losing in a final 6-2, 6-3, to clinch the match for Kentucky.

Rohan Gajjar and Matt Emery would be locked in a battle on court four. Gajjar would lose the first set 7-5 and get down early in the second set and eventually trail 5-3. Gajjar fought back against Emery and tied it up at five a piece to ensure his staying in the match. Tied at six, the match would go to a tiebreaker that saw Emery run away with it to win, 7-5, 7-6(1).

Matt Roberts was strong early on and mounted a lead on his way to a first set victory over Rahim Esmail, 6-3. Esmail would comeback as he had Roberts’ number in the second set, winning 6-2. A super-tiebreaker would be played to end the match as the team portion had already been clinched. The tiebreaker portion of the match saw Roberts fall in a close 10-8 battle.

Freshman Adrians Zguns continued his stellar rookie season as he played the three spot against Karim Benmansour. Zguns wasted no time early on, winning the first set 6-1. He began to have trouble as the match progressed, and Benmansour started to dominate, winning the final two sets and the match, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The Hogs fall to 11-9 overall and 2-6 in league play. The Razorbacks will next take on Texas on April 1 as they travel to Austin. The Razorbacks next home match is Sunday, April 6 at 1 pm against Mississippi State.

No. 12 Kentucky 7, No. 26 Arkansas 0
March 28, 2003 – Fayetteville, AR
No. 1: No. 13 Jesse Witten (UK) def. Aleksey Bubis, 6-2, 6-3
No. 2: Evan Austin (UK) def. Eduardo Pacheco, 6-3, 6-2
No. 3: Karim Benmansour (UK) def. Adrians Zguns, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4
No. 4: Matt Emery (UK) def. Rohan Gajjar, 7-5, 7-6(1)
No. 5: Rahim Esmail (UK) def. Matt Roberts, 3-6, 6-3, (10-8)
No. 6: Alex Hume (UK) def. Hunter Benson, 6-2, 6-2

No. 1: Pacheco/Bubis (AR) def. Benmansour/Emery, 8-5
No. 2: Witten/Esmail (UK) def. Parker/Gajjar, 8-2
No. 3: Austin/Hume (UK) def. Roberts/Zguns, 8-2

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