May 23, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. -- The most successful season in Oklahoma men's tennis history came to a close at the hands of No. 11 Georgia, 4-0, in the quarterfinals of NCAA Championships Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the University of Georgia campus.
"Georgia outplayed us," said John Roddick, head coach of the 20th-ranked Sooners. "They deserved the win and in the fashion they did it. They played fantastic, basically error-free tennis. They made it very difficult for us to finish points and finish games. My hat goes off to the whole Georgia team."
The Sooners' illustrious season was highlighted by their first-ever appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championships and included marquee wins over No. 3 Texas and No. 14 Texas Tech. OU finished 19-8.
In the quarterfinals match, the majority of the 2,410 fans in attendance were rooting for Georgia, and Roddick talked about that experience.
"It was a little strange," Roddick said. "I didn't realize when I played there how loud it was until the cheers are against you. It was a great experience for our guys. As a tennis player you want to play in front of a lot of people. You would rather play in front of 4,000 people rooting against you than have no one there. Our team is going to grow from this because we gained valuable experience."
The Sooners dropped the doubles portion of the match despite striking first at the No. 3 position. The Bulldogs took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots to take the 1-0 lead heading into singles. This marked the second match in a row the Sooners lost doubles.
Oklahoma senior Blake Boswell and freshman Lawrence Formentera joined forces at the No. 3 spot where the duo promptly disposed of the Bulldogs' Drake Bernstein and Will Oliver, 8-1.
Georgia answered when Jamie Hunt and Christian Vitulli took court two, 8-4, over OU's Ionut Beleleu and David Pultr.
The deciding match came at No. 1 doubles where OU's 18th-ranked duo of Andrei Daescu and Costin Paval took a 4-2 lead over UGA's No. 32-ranked pair of Javier Garrapiz and Nate Schnugg. However, the OU combo dropped six of the last seven points to the Bulldogs, making the final 8-5.
In singles, Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 lead after Bernstein beat OU's Pultr, 6-2, 6-3. The Czech's season came to a close with a record of 17-9.
OU's Paval was the next to fall at the No. 2 position. Paval was upended by UGA's Hunt in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year and ITA Player to Watch ended his stellar freshman campaign with a record of 19-5, where he won six of his last seven matches at No. 3.
Georgia clinched the match after Garrapiz dropped OU's Daescu, 6-4, 6-2. Daescu, OU's only graduating singles player, ended his career with a record of 45-42 in singles and 62-29 in doubles.
On the year, OU defeated 13 teams ranked in the ITA top-72, while each of the Sooners' losses came against teams ranked in the ITA top 15. In addition, the Sooners defeated San Diego State (No. 50) and OSU (No. 48) twice.
The future is bright for Roddick's squad as it returns all but one singles player and two in doubles.
"It is bright," Roddick said. "We have had good recruiting and these guys have gained experience in going way further than I thought we would. That is going to be huge for us next year and the years after. I'm very excited about the years to come."
Daescu will open play in the 64-player singles draw at the NCAA Championships on May 26. Daescu and Paval will open competition the following day in the 32-team doubles draw.
No. 11 Georgia 4, No. 20 Oklahoma 0
1. #22 Javier Garrapiz (UGA) def. #28 Andrei Daescu (OU), 6-4 6-2
2. #75 Nate Schnugg (UGA) vs. #65 Ionut Beleleu (OU), 6-4, 6-5, DNF
3. Jamie Hunt (UGA) def. #74 Costin Paval (OU), 6-2, 6-1
4. #115 Drake Bernstein (UGA) def. David Pultr (OU), 6-2, 6-3
5. George Chanturia (OU) vs. Christian Vitulli (UGA), 4-6, 5-4, DNF
6. Lawrence Formentera (OU) vs. Will Reynolds (UGA), 6-4, 5-5, DNF
Order of finish: 4, 3, 1
1. #32 Garrapiz/Schnugg (UGA) def. #18 Daescu/Paval (OU), 8-5
2. Hunt/Vitulli (UGA) def. Beleleu/Pultr (OU), 8-4
3. Blake Boswell/Formentera (OU) def. Bernstein/Will Oliver (UGA), 8-1
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1