FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF men’s tennis team dropped their 2019 season opener on the road in a 4-3 decision at Arkansas. The match had to be moved to Dill’s Indoor Court due to the snow outside. Both teams entered the season receiving votes in the ORACLE/Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
“We played really good doubles matches today, but we just couldn’t quite finish the singles,” said Director of Tennis John Roddick, “We competed really hard and gave great effort. We just have to keep trying to get better and get over the finish line.”
The Knights had a strong outing in doubles. Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi and Manoel Alencar claimed the first match in the doubles segment at the No. 2 spot with a 6-3 victory over Razorbacks Josh Howard-Tripp and Alex Reco. A pair of freshmen in the No. 1 spot clinched the doubles point for the Knights by a count of 7-5, as Trey Hilderbrand and Bogdan Pavel triumphed over Enrique Paya and Maxim Verboven. With doubles already clinched, court three’s match went unfinished, as Pedro Alonso and Adam Sanjurjo were in front of UCF’s Alan Rubio and Mikhail Sokolovskiy 6-5 at the time.
No. 107 Hilderbrand opened the singles scoring for the match and earned his first career victory. He defeated Reco at the No. 3 spot 7-5, 6-2. Arkansas responded by winning the next four singles matches on courts one, four, six and two to clinch the match.
No. 88 Sokolovskiy picked up the third point for the Knights even though the match had already been decided. He squared off with Paya and eventually defeated him in three sets by a count of 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
At the No. 1 position, No. 57 Grassi Mazzuchi was bested by Howard-Tripp 4-6, 4-6. The next Razorback victory came at singles match No. 4. Pavel was narrowly edged by Alonso in a tie breaker in set number one 7-6 (7-4) and then lost in the second set 6-3.
The match score remained deadlocked at two for quite some time before Arkansas broke the tie with a victor on court six in a third set tiebreaker. Here, Alencar was beat by Verboven 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) on court 6. The Razorbacks clinched the victory on court two, where another tiebreaker decided the point, as Sanjurjo defeated No. 79 Rubio 7-5, 7-6 (7-4).
UCF will face another tough test next weekend as they travel to Stanford for ITA Kickoff weekend. Stanford entered the season ranked No. 10 in the nation.