NORMAN, Okla. -- The 41st-ranked Oklahoma men’s tennis team (6-0) looks to continue its flawless start when the Sooners take on UNLV (6-2) on Friday, Feb. 18, at the Fertitta Tennis Complex at 3:30 p.m. CST in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Sooners will then face Hawaii on neutral courts on Saturday, Feb. 19, at noon.
Last Time Against the Rebels
The Sooners picked up a 6-1 victory over UNLV in last year’s UNLV Invitational. OU went on to claim the tournament title by defeating Texas Arlington.
Last Week’s Recap
Oklahoma upset host and 20th-ranked Arkansas, 6-1. The victory marked OU’s first win over the Razorbacks under head coach Paul Lockwood and gave the Sooners their second victory over a higher ranked opponent.
Junior Alexei Ivanov remains undefeated in singles play giving him a 6-0 overall record. Ivanonv toppled 77th ranked Rohan Gajjar, 6-3, 6-4. Sophomore standout Marek Velicka defeated UA’s Adrians Zguns 6-4, 6-3. Zguns is ranked 56th nationally while Velicka ranks 43rd. Senior Ondrej Fukala and junior Tommy Garrison proved to much for Arkansas’ 27th ranked duo of Imraan Ismail and Matt Roberts, defeating the pair 9-8.
The Sooners also played an unscheduled exhibition game on Friday, Feb. 11, against Tyler Community College at the OU Headington Family Tennis Center in Norman. Oklahoma defeated TCC, 7-0. The dual will not count toward team and individual statistics.
Recent Sooner Success
In four of OU’s six singles positions, the Sooners are flawless. The team also sports a 10-2 singles record when facing opponents from Region V.
Sooners Back In The National Rankings
The Sooners fought their way back into the ITA rankings after a successful fall season. OU started the season ranked 66th and are now ranked 41st. Oklahoma will play several ranked opponents this season including Big 12 foes Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
The Sooners welcome three newcomers to this year’s team. Freshmen Ryan Thomas, Federico Chavarria and Razvan Axente. Thomas continues to pick up wins with an overall record of 3-0, while Axente received his first win of the spring season when he defeated Cameron’s Jorge Zabrodiec, 6-1, 6-3.
Head Coach Paul Lockwood
Paul Lockwood begins his 18th season as Oklahoma head men’s tennis coach. The OU graduate has compiled an overall record of 251-160 and claimed the Big Eight conference title in 1992. Lockwood was named Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992 for his outstanding commitment to Sooner tennis. Lockwood’s teams have also earned eight Academic ITA All-America team honors (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004).
OU Welcomes New Assistant Coach
Oklahoma men’s tennis added a new addition to their team this season in the form of assistant coach Kris Miller. Miller is a professor at Oklahoma Christian University and coached there for 16 years before the program was cut in 2003.