FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The 69th-ranked Mississippi State men's tennis team came back from a 3-1 deficit to claim a 4-3 upset win at No. 42 Arkansas Friday, as true freshman Artem Ilyushin completed a nailbiting three-set win over UA's Chris Nott at the No.2 singles position to clinch the win.
MSU improved to 6-12 on the season and 2-7 in Southeastern Conference play, while Arkansas fell to 10-11 and 2-7 in the league. This win snapped an eight-match Bulldog losing skid and was the ninth-straight win for the Bulldogs over UA in Fayetteville. The match was forced indoors due to the potential of inclement weather.
Arkansas jumped out to an early lead in the contest, winning the doubles point in identical matches, first at the No. 1 position where State's doubles team junior Chris Doerr and sophomore Tanner Stump fell to Razorbacks Blake Strode and Nott, 8-3. Then, at the No. 2 spot, MSU's true freshman duo of Ilyushin and Louis Cant fell 8-3 to Arkansas' Matt Hogan and Dimitry Lebedev. MState's tandem of senior Ryan Farlow and sophomore Antonio Lastre were trailing Arkansas' Taylor King and Matt Walters 5-4 when play was suspended.
Arkansas built a 2-0 lead with a victory at the No. 3 singles spot, where MSU's Cant dropped a straight-set decision to the Razorbacks' Hogan, 6-2, 6-3. Getting the Bulldogs on the scoreboard was Doerr at the No. 5 position, where the London, England, native took down Bradwin Williams or Arkansas, 6-1, 6-3. UA extended its lead to 3-1at the No. 1 slot, when State's 88th-ranked Farlow fell to the 13th-ranked Strode, 6-1, 6-1.
Then State started its comeback run. The sophomore Stump started the MSU rally at the No. 6 position, with his straight-set win over Arkansas' Tyler Tarnasky, 6-1, 7-6(6). Evening the score up for the Maroon and White at the No. 4 position was Lastre, who bested Lebedev, 7-5, 6-3.
That set up the clinching win by the 89th-ranked rookie Ilyushin, who split the opening two-sets, 6-3, 3-6, with Nott at the No. 2 spot. The players then traded blows in the third, finally going to a tiebreaker to decide the match. In the breaker, Ilyushin mounted a 6-1 lead, only to see Nott crawl back to 6-5. With Nott serving on that point, Ilyushin claimed the decisive point to hand the Bulldogs the win.
"It was a hard-fought win, especially coming back after losing the doubles point," said Mississippi State head coach Per Nilsson. "It was great for the guys to get a win after being so close so many times this year."
MSU returns to the courts this Sunday, April 12, at 1 p.m. CT, when MSU serves up at 32nd-ranked LSU.
Live stats will be available at www.msstateathletics.com.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Battling strong and gusty winds throughout the match, Mississippi State's women's tennis team (9-8, 0-8 SEC) fell to 14th-ranked Arkansas (11-6, 6-3 SEC) Friday at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre. Due to the windy conditions, play was suspended after the Razorbacks clinched the match at 4-0.
In doubles, Mississippi State got off to a strong start, challenging Arkansas on every court. The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to early leads at all three positions before finally falling. Radka Ferancova and Daniela Juskova built a 3-1 advantage at No. 3, while Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers started with a 2-1 lead. Natalia Mayuk and Olesya Tsigvintseva went up by a slim 3-2 advantage.
In back-and-forth matches on each court, State was unable to maintain its early advantage, ultimately falling at each position. At No. 2, Mayuk and Tsigvintseva fell 8-4 to 62nd-ranked Razorbacks Aurejila Miseviciute and Ela Kaluder, while at No. 3 Ferancova and Juskova dropped an 8-6 decision to Emily Carbone and Kate Lukomskaya. The senior duo of Banikova and de Villiers battled hard, but lost to the 29th-ranked UA tandem of Nanar Airapetian and Anouk Tigu.
In singles, MSU's Ferancova was the first one to fall, dropping a 6-2, 6-2 decision on court No.3 to Kaluder. Her setback was followed by another Razorback victory at No. 5, where MSU's Valeriya Makarycheva suffered a 6-4, 6-1 defeat to Airapetian of UA.
Up 3-0, Arkansas clinched the match when the 71st-ranked Tidu posted a 6-3, 6-2 victory at the No. 2 position over State's Tsigvintseva.
That win gave Arkansas the 4-0 advantage and play was suspended at that point.
"It was unfortunate we had to play in these conditions today," said head coach Tracy Lane. "I thought we played so hard and had made it close in doubles. It was just a very tough match."
Mississippi State will conclude its 2009 home slate Sunday against LSU at 1 p.m. CT. It will be the last home match for three Lady Bulldog seniors - Banikova, de Villiers and Juskova.