FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Behind a dominating performance in singles play, the No. 12 Mississippi State men’s tennis squad (13-6, 3-4 SEC) overcame dropping the doubles point to defeat No. 54 Arkansas (12-9, 0-6 SEC) 4-1 at the Dills Indoor Tennis Complex Friday afternoon.
With the win, State has won its last five matches against the Razorbacks and improves to 24-7 all-time against the SEC West foes.
Arkansas grabbed an early lead by taking the doubles point with wins on courts one and two. UA’s Gregoire Lehmann and Mike Ward took down MSU’s Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson 8-4 on court two. However, State evened the playing field with an 8-6 win on court three from the freshmen duo of Romain Bogaerts and Pedro Dumont against UA’s Hall Fess and Santiago Munoz, leaving it all up to court one.
MSU’s No. 14 duo of Jordan Angus and Malte Stropp held a 7-6 lead late on court one, but Arkansas’ No. 60 tandem of Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott rallied to down the MSU duo 9-7 and take the doubles point for the Razorbacks.
Singles would prove to be a different story for the Bulldogs. State came out firing on all courts, taking all six first sets.
MSU freshman Dumont started off the singles victories with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against UA’s Victor Hoang on court five to even the team score at 1-1. On court four, State’s White followed suit with a 6-2, 6-4 victory against the Razorbacks’ Ward to put the Bulldogs ahead. White’s doubles partner, MSU’s Wilkinson would then earn a 6-3, 6-4 victory against UA’s Christian Lee in his 2013 dual match debut match.
The clinching point came on court one, as No. 18 Bogaerts of MSU defeated UA’s Lehmann 6-3, 6-2, giving the Bulldogs their third SEC win of the season.
Play on courts two and three was suspended once the match was clinched. On three, MSU’s Angus was leading UA’s Nott 6-4, 4-5, while State’s No. 59 Stropp was tied with UA’s Jeske 6-0, 4-6, 1-1 on court two.
“Arkansas came at us early, but the team did a good job of keeping their composure,” head coach Per Nilsson said. “I am very proud of Ethan (Wilkinson) to win a big match for us today.”
The Bulldogs will return to action Sunday as they face No. 48 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., at 1 p.m. CT. The Tigers were hosting No. 7 Ole Miss late Friday afternoon. Following Sunday’s match, MSU will return home Friday, March 29, as they host seventh-ranked, in-state rival Ole Miss at 2 p.m., at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre.
No. 12 Mississippi State 4, No. 54 Arkansas 1
March 22, 2013 – Dills Indoor Tennis Complex – Fayetteville, Ark.
1) No. 18 Bogaerts (MSU) def. Lehmann (UA) 6-3, 6-2
2) No. 59 Stropp (MSU) vs. Jeske (UA) 6-0, 4-6, 1-1(susp.)
3) Angus (MSU) vs. Nott (UA) 6-4, 4-5(susp.)
4) White (MSU) def. Ward (UA) 6-2, 6-4
5) Dumont (MSU) def. Victor Hoang (UA) 6-4, 6-4
6) Wilkinson (MSU) def. Christian Lee (UA) 6-3, 6-4
Order of finish… Doubles (2,3,1)… Singles (5,4,6,1)