ATHENS, Ga.— Elite again.
For just the second time in program history, the Oklahoma men’s tennis team advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 victory over the 15th-seeded Kentucky Wildcats.
The Sooners (26-3, 7-2 Big 12) topped Kentucky (23-10, 9-3 SEC) for the second time this season. The first victory came in February when OU claimed a 5-2 victory at home.
In the last matchup between the teams, Kentucky walked away with the doubles point with wins at No. 2 and 3. The new Sooners lineup proved to work in their favor as the team took an early 1-0 lead after clinching the doubles point.
Dane Webb and Axel Alvarez cruised to an easy 8-3 victory at the No. 1 position to give Oklahoma the early advantage.
After falling behind, 5-1, on court three Nick Papac and Alex Ghilea fought back to keep the match at a close 6-5. However, their comeback fell short as Kentucky topped the pair 8-5. Guillermo Alcorta and Andrew Harris clinched the doubles victory for the Sooners with an 8-5 win at the No. 2 spot.
“In these tournaments, when you have to play four out of five days, just to have the opportunity to finish faster is a huge thing,” OU head coach John Roddick said. “Winning the doubles point definitely helps with that.”
In singles, all six Sooners cruised to first set wins. Alcorta put the Sooners up 2-0 with a 6-1, 6-2 win at the premier spot. Harris followed close behind with a 6-1, 7-5 victory at No. 4.
Clinching the match was Webb at the No. 3 position. The junior notched a 6-3, 6-3 win to seal the victory over Kentucky.
“The guys played well and they’re going to go out and play well and put us in a good position,” Roddick said.
Oklahoma made its first trip to the quarterfinals in 2010. The Sooners defeated Texas 4-2 in the round of 16 before falling to Georgia 4-0.
Roddick's squad will face North Carolina in the Elite Eight on Sunday, May 18, at 3 p.m. CT. The Tar Heels knocked off host Georgia 4-2 in the Sweet Sixteen to advance to the quarterfinals.
OKLAHOMA 4, KENTUCKY 0
1. Axel Alvarez/Dane Webb (OKLAHOMA) def. Alejandro Gomez/Beck Pennington (KENTUCKY), 8-3
2. Guillermo Alcorta/Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA) def. Jerry Lopez/Kevin Lai (KENTUCKY), 8-5
3. Ryuji Hirooka/Nils Ellefsen (KENTUCKY) def. Alex Ghilea/Nick Papac (OKLAHOMA), 8-6
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2
1. #5 Guillermo Alcorta (OKLAHOMA) def. #86 Alejandro Gomez (KENTUCKY), 6-1, 6-2
2. #7 Axel Alvarez (OKLAHOMA) vs. Beck Pennington (KENTUCKY), 6-4, 3-4, unf.
3. #41 Dane Webb (OKLAHOMA) def. Jerry Lopez (KENTUCKY), 6-3, 6-3
4. #53 Andrew Harris (OKLAHOMA) def. Kevin Lai (KENTUCKY), 6-1, 7-5
5. Austin Siegel (OKLAHOMA) vs. Grant Roberts (KENTUCKY), 6-4, 4-1, unf.
6. Alex Ghilea (OKLAHOMA) vs. Ryuji Hirooka (KENTUCKY), 6-1, 3-3, unf.
Order of finish: 1, 4, 3