TUSCALOOSA – The Alabama men’s tennis team lost a 5-2 decision to the Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday afternoon at the Alabama Tennis Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to an overall 6-8 record, while the Razorbacks improve to 6-6.
“Another weekend of growth and experience for our young guys,” said head coach George Husack. “They are giving it their all and the results will come. I believe in them and they must continue to believe in themselves. There is a lot left in our season so keeping the faith and continuing to work hard are top priorities.”
The Razorbacks’ doubles pair Adam Sanjurjo and Oscar Mesquida topped freshmen Alexey Nesterov and Edson Ortiz, 6-1, on court two to pick up the first doubles victory of the contest. Alabama responded with a 7-5 win on court three, as freshmen Thibault Cancel and Zhe Zhou outlasted Johan den Toom and Branch Terrell. With the doubles point on the line, Mike Redlicki and Jose Salazar defeated sophomores Mazen Osama and Spencer Richey, 7-5, on court one to give Arkansas a 1-0 match lead going into singles play.
Arkansas’ No. 5 ranked singles player Redlicki topped Alabama’s No. 62 ranked singles player Osama (No. 1) in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, to give the Razorbacks a 2-0 match advantage. The Razorbacks’ No. 22 ranked singles player Salazar went on to extend Arkansas’ match lead to 3-0, as he defeated Cancel (No. 2) in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2. Den Toom overcame Nesterov (No. 5) in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5, to clinch the Arkansas match victory, before Zhou (No. 6) won a three-set banger over Juan Marino, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, to give Alabama its first match point of the contest. Richey (No. 4) fell short to Mesquida in a match that was decided in three sets, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, before Ortiz (No. 3) topped Sanjurjo in a three set thriller, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, resulting in the final match score.
“Zhe and Edson have been great additions,” said Husack. “It’s tough when you arrive in January and are expected to win right away, but each guy has taken it upon himself to improve on a daily basis, especially the last couple of weeks. Happy for them and their impact.”
The Tide will be back in action on Thursday when it travels to Starkville, Miss., to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a match at 3 p.m. CT.