FAYETTEVILLE, AR. – The 43rd-ranked Alabama men's tennis team overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat No. 69 Arkansas, 4-3, on the road Friday at the Billingsley Tennis Center. The Crimson Tide (9-7, 2-5 SEC) dropped the doubles point and the matchup on court one singles, but won four straight singles matches after that for the team victory over the Razorbacks (6-12, 0-7 SEC).
"We were fortunate today in this match," Alabama Head Coach Billy Pate said. "Arkansas came our and played an inspired doubles point and jumped on us in singles, but I credit our guys for digging deep and rallying to win on the road."
Alabama struck first in doubles, but Arkansas would win the other two matches to capture the doubles point. On court one, the Tide's 76th-ranked team of junior Ricky Doverspike and sophomore Jarryd Botha downed Razorback senior Matt Hogan and sophomore Gregoire Lehmann, 8-3. Alabama battled to fight off match points on courts two and three to pull within one, but Arkansas would come out on top in 8-6 fashion on both. The Razorbacks got their first win on court three as senior Chris Nott and junior Matt Walters topped senior Trey Walston and freshman Daniil Proskura. The clincher came on court two where junior Nikolas Zogaj and sophomore Mike Ward outlasted Alabama juniors Vikram Reddy and Michael Thompson to give Arkansas the early advantage.
The Razorbacks would go up 2-0 in the match after Nott tacked on a 6-0, 6-4 win over Doverspike at No. 1 singles. Doverspike came out strong in the second set to lead 3-0, but Nott clawed back to win six of the final seven games in the set for the victory. The Tide got its first point of the afternoon from Botha on court three with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Zogaj. The Razorback netter threatened to push the match to a third set, but Botha held strong for the victory in straight sets. Thompson evened the score at 2-2 with a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Walters on court five.
Nearly simultaneously, Alabama earned wins on court two and four for the team victory, that was kicked off by a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win for Proskura in his first appearance at the No. 2 spot. Reddy provided the clinching victory at No. 4 as he came back from a 6-3 loss in the first to Lehmann to win the final two sets, 7-5, 6-3. Arkansas would collect the final point of the match as Ward edged sophomore Ian Chadwell 7-6, 7-6 on court six.
Next up, Alabama will head to LSU to take on the Tigers on Sunday, April 3. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. CT.
"I was really proud to see two first-year players in Daniil and Vikram come through in the clutch to give us the third and fourth points," Pate added. "We need to get ready for a very deep LSU team on Sunday."
1. No. 76 Doverspike/Botha (UA) def. Lehmann/Hogan (Ark) 8-3
2. Zogaj/Ward (Ark) def. Reddy/Thompson (UA) 8-6
3. Walters/Nott (Ark) def. Proskura/Walston (UA) 8-6
Order of Finish: 1,3,2
1. Chris Nott (Ark) def. Ricky Doverspike (UA) 6-0, 6-4
2. Daniil Proskura (UA) def. Matt Hogan (Ark) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
3. Jarryd Botha (UA) def. Nikolas Zogaj (Ark) 6-1, 6-4
4. Vikram Reddy (UA) def. Gregoire Lehmann (Ark) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
5. Michael Thompson (UA) def. Matt Walters (Ark) 6-4, 6-1
6. Mike Ward (Ark) def. Ian Chadwell (UA) 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
Order of Finish: 1,3,5,2,4*,6