No. 2 overall seed Oklahoma (25-3) defeated Harvard (18-7), 4-0, at the Gregg Wadley Indoor Tennis Pavilion Sunday afternoon in an NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship Second Round match.
It was a milestone win for John Roddick in his fifth season as Oklahoma’s head coach.
“I didn’t even know,” Roddick said. “I’m just more excited about going to Athens. I’m proud of the guys because it’s never easy to get there. We still have a lot of work to do but it’s always a good feeling.
“They played really well today. Harvard is an indoor team and we were not happy with the Oklahoma weather today and all the wind. This is the first time where it was just so bad out there.”
Sustained wins climbed over the 20 miles per hour limit and gusted into the 40s.
After a contentious doubles battle, Oklahoma cruised to three straight-set singles victories on courts 1, 2 and 5.
“In doubles they were attacking the ball and just ripping it and we did well fighting it off. We don’t really like that style and indoors, that’s just the way you play. We played really well in singles and I’m proud of the effort.”
The Sooners claimed doubles after a 22-point tiebreaker played by Nick Papac and Alex Ghilea.
Tied 6-all on court 3, the Sooners played to two ad points in the 14th game before Harvard wrestled the match into an extra set. Harvard’s Sebastien Beltrame and Christo Schultz led 6-4 before Oklahoma scored three straight. Papac returned Schultz’s 11-10 serve wide of his reach to clinch the point.
Playing at 4-all, Papac was struck in the face with Ghilea’s racket while chasing a long volley. Papac suffered a cut between the eyes that was tended on court, delaying the nail-biting finish for several minutes.
“I think our mentality was really good. In singles we were really disciplined and didn’t make the little mistakes that will drive coaches crazy. We’re a little more prone to that in doubles but if we can clean that up, we’re close to playing really good doubles.”
Oklahoma’s Axel Alvarez needed just 54 minutes to win 6-0, 6-1 over Harvard’s Sebastien Beltrame at No. 2 singles.
Guillermo Alcorta capped his final collegiate match on his home court with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Denis Nguyen. OU freshman Austin Siegel finished Brian Yeung 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 for the sweep.
Oklahoma will face No. 15 Kentucky, 4-3 winners over Clemson, in the round of 16 Friday, May 16, at 3 p.m. Central.
The Sooners defeated the Wildcats, 5-2, in Norman on Feb. 16.