Tennis Hogs Prepare for Regional Championships
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ tennis team heads to Tulsa, Okla. Thursday for the beginning of the Wilson/ITA Region V Championships at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the University of Tulsa campus.
The tournament field features 14 teams, including: Arkansas, Arkansas Little-Rock, Tulsa, Oral Roberts, Nebraska, Saint Louis, Missouri State, Southern Illinois, Indiana State, Creighton, Drake, Wichita State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The Razorbacks, who had three players claim titles at the South Carolina Invitational last weekend, send nine competitors to Tulsa.
A year ago, the Hogs saw Rohan Gajjar advance to the tournament finals and had Matt Roberts and Imraan Ismail take home the Region V doubles championship.
"This is the highlight of our fall tournaments," Arkansas head coach Robert Cox said. "We always try to peak at this tournament. Our region consists of 14 teams that are very good.
“We’re fortunate to have nine guys there and we’re playing well right now. I’m excited for it to get started and see our guys advance."
Gajjar is one of three seniors UA has competing in Tulsa, joining Matt Roberts and Adrians Zguns. Gajjar, Zguns and Roberts are all nationally ranked at 31st, 58th and 73rd, respectively. Each participated in the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa earlier this fall. Gajjar is 1-1 this fall, while Roberts and Zguns are both 4-1.
Arkansas also sends a pair of true freshman, Blake Strode and Austin King. Strode won the first collegiate title of his young career at the South Carolina Invitational, beating three ranked players in five matches. The St. Louis, Mo. product is 7-1 this fall. King’s only loss as a collegiate came to teammate Michael Jung at the South Carolina Invitational. The Rogers, Ark. native is 6-1.
Jung, a sophomore, claimed a flighted title at the South Carolina Invitational, and has won eight consecutive matches. Classmate Jimmy Khougassian also brought home a flighted title from South Carolina, and the Clamart, France native is 8-2.
Also competing for Arkansas is junior Andrei Nicoara, 3-4 through three tournaments this fall, and redshirt freshman Brian Yanulis.
Khougassian, Nicoara and Yanulis each open play at 9 a.m. in Thursday’s qualifying draw. Nicoara opens play against Saint Louis’ Matt Gordon. Khougassian takes on Michael Limoges of Saint Louis, while Yanulis faces Creighton’s Chris Miller.