Sweep Sends Sooners to Saturday's Second Round
NORMAN, Okla. -- The 11th-seeded Oklahoma men’s tennis team kicked off its 2016 NCAA Championship run with a 4-0, first-round win over UT Arlington on Friday evening at the Headington Family Tennis Center in Norman, Okla.
The Sooners (16-10, 3-2) swept the Mavericks (18-11, 0-0) 4-0 and advanced to the second round of play set for Saturday. Friday night’s win was Oklahoma’s fifth consecutive first round victory, dating back to 2012. Oklahoma will take on Oregon at 1 p.m. CT Saturday afternoon. The Ducks upset No. 23 Tulsa 4-1 in Friday’s first regional match.
“Doubles was close and we pulled it out,” head coach John Roddick said. “Singles was just pretty solid. We lost a couple breaks here or there, but mostly it was just deuce points. All in all our guys did a good job of taking care of business. It was a good effort to be focused and disciplined. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Oklahoma grabbed momentum early, winning the doubles point with victories on courts one and three. OU’s top duo of senior Axel Alvarez and junior Andrew Harris were dominant in winning 6-2 at number one doubles.
"That’s his biggest thing is making good decisions all the time. He is hitting the ball well, hitting good pace and spin, so that was a very good effort on his part.”
— Head Coach John Roddick
The Sooners dropped the doubles match on court two 6-4, and the match on court three entered a tiebreaker before OU’s freshman duo of Max Mora and Andre Biro prevailed 8-6 in the extra frame to clinch the opening point.
Leading 1-0, the Sooners continued their dominance in singles. Sophomore Spencer Papa cruised to a quick 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jhonathan Gonzalez on court two to put OU up 2-0.
“It looked like he was in control and making good decisions,” Roddick said. “That’s his biggest thing is making good decisions all the time. He is hitting the ball well, hitting good pace and spin, so that was a very good effort on his part.”
Alvarez put the Sooners up 3-0 when he bested the Mavericks’ top singles man Guanarteme Nuez in straight sets. OU’s senior ace won 6-2, 6-3 at the top spot to put the Sooners just one point from advancing.
Having won all six first sets, Oklahoma was in great shape with four matches remaining. Biro would push the Sooners over the edge with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Carlos Abiza at the number five spot. The freshman from Hungary leads the Sooners in singles wins this season with 15.
OU is back in action Saturday at 1 p.m. CT to take on Oregon in the second round of the NCAA Championship. The Sooners are expecting a very high energy match with the Ducks.
“They were obviously excited after their match,” Roddick said. “I watched a good bit of it. They are playing for a lot for them so they are going to come out with a lot of energy. So will we. They may be as fired up as any team we’ve faced all year so it’ll be a tough match.”
Fans can purchase tickets for Saturday’s match at the venue on the day of the competition, by calling the OU Athletics Tickets Office at (405) 325-2424 or by visiting the ticket office in person. Adult tickets are $5, while tickets for youth (ages 3-18), seniors (55+), OU students with valid ID and groups of 10 or more are $3 each.
For more information on Oklahoma Men’s Tennis, follow the team on Twitter at @OU_MTennis.
2. Abiza/Del Rio def. Ghilea/Papa - 6-4
2. #82 Spencer Papa def. Jhonathan Gonzalez - 6-1, 6-1
6. Max Mora vs. Mauricio Del Rio - 6-4, 3-3, DNF