STARKVILLE,Miss. - The Mississippi State men's tennis team dropped a 4-3 decision for the third consecutive time, falling to #16 Arkansas Friday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Two of the last three losses have come against top-20 teams.
Arkansas gained a 1-0 advantage, winning the doubles point over State. The first completed match was at the #3 court where UA's Taylor King and Colin Mascall defeated State's Ryan Farlow and Philippe Frayssinoux 8-3. The Razorbacks clinched the point when the 39th-ranked tandem of Blake Strode and Adrians Zguns knocked off MSU's duo of Florent Girod and Pierre Mouillon 8-3. The match on court #1 was suspended with UA's Rohan Gajjar and Matt Roberts leading Bulldogs Ivan Bjelica and Jose-Carlos Pinto 6-3.
Four of the six singles matches reached a third set before the outcome was decided. The Bulldogs evened the match at 1-1 when Bjelica knocked off 13th-ranked Zguns 7-5, 6-3 on the #1 court. The second match completed was at the #6 spot where Razorback Michael Jung rallied from a set down to beat MSU's Farlow 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 and give UA a 2-1 lead. State then evened the match once again at 2-2 when Mouillon overcame 49th-ranked Roberts 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
With the match in the balances, the team win hinged on court #3 and court #4. The first completed was at the #4 spot where the Razorback's 102-ranked Strode outbattled State's Florent Girod 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to give Arkansas a 3-2 lead. On court #3, UA's 74th-ranked Rohan Gajjar defeated State's Pinto in a close 7-5, 7-5 match, giving the clinching fourth point to the Razorbacks. Shortly after the match had been clinched, MSU's Frayssinoux rallied from a set down and defeated UA's Mascall 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(2) which snapped a seven match losing streak.
The Bulldogs (4-9, 1-6) loss is only the second in the last 17 matches with Arkansas. With the win, Arkansas moved to 13-6 on the season and improved their Southeastern Conference record to 4-3. Zguns was the highest ranked player that Bjelica has beaten in his career. Bjelica has now won three straight matches and improved to 4-3 in SEC play. Mouillon is now 10-3 in dual matches this season with his win at the #2 court.
State's next action will come Sunday when they travel to Baton Rouge, La. to take on 19th-ranked LSU. The Tigers are coming off a win over 10th-ranked Mississippi on Friday. The match is set to begin at 1 p.m. CT at LSU's Dub Robinson Stadium.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Mississippi State dropped its third consecutive Southeastern Conference women's tennis match with a 7-0 decision against No. 55 Arkansas on Friday afternoon. The match was moved to the Wal-Mart Life and Fitness Center in Bentonville, Ark. due to renovations of the Arkansas Varsity Courts in Fayetteville, Ark.
The loss snapped MSU's five-match winning streak, which dates back to the 2000 season, versus the Lady Razorbacks.
The Lady Bulldogs fell at the No. 4 and No. 5 positions with both Daniela Juskova and Elna de Villiers retiring in the second set of each match. Juskova dropped the opener 7-6(4) to Lady Razorback Karina Ledaja, while de Villiers won the first set versus UA's Melissa Cornett, but the freshman Lady ‘Dog retired after being down 3-0 in the second set.
Aurelija Miseviciute topped MState's Anastasia Kugakolova 6-1, 6-1 along with UA's Ela Kaluder defeating MSU's Renee Joseph 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 2 position. Joseph moved in to the second spot after playing at No. 3 in her last five matches. UA's Vlatka Jovanovic won in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 over State's Martina Banikova.
The Lady Razorbacks opened the scoring with the doubles point, notching wins at court one and three. The Maroon and White's pairing of Banikova and de Villiers defeated UA's duo of Audrey Bordeleau and Miseviciute 8-4.
State returns home on Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m. to face the Tigers of LSU at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. The Purple and Gold faced Mississippi on Friday in Oxford.